On July 21, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the OCC) released its 15th annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices (the Survey), which compiles examiner observations and assessments of credit underwriting standards at the country’s largest national banks. The Survey found that commercial and retail underwriting standards tightened for the second consecutive year following a four-year period of eased underwriting.  

Despite tighter underwriting, the Survey found that risk in both the commercial and retail portfolios increased for the second consecutive year and is expected to increase over the coming year. The Survey further found that “loan production and underwriting standards were also influenced by the depressed real estate market, changes in risk appetite, refinancing concerns, and the impact that relaxed underwriting standards from prior years had on payment performance.”  

The Survey included the 59 largest national banks and covered the 13-month period ending March 31, 2009.  

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