Is the banking system well capitalized?
The top US financial regulators say they are stepping up scrutiny of how exposed banks are to commercial real estate, as vacancy rates increase.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council said in a statement Friday that delinquency rates are low, but empty offices are on the rise. The group, which was set up after the global financial crisis, includes the heads of the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Regulators are taking steps to emphasize risk management and examine exposures to CRE loans at their regulated institutions,” the group said.
After several wild months in finance during which three midsize banks failed, Washington’s watchdogs are under pressure to get in front of any looming issues. During their Friday meeting, the regulators discussed “the ability of market participants to manage their interest-rate risk and liquidity risk in the current economic environment,” the group said.
Overall, the group, which is known as FSOC, said that the banking system was “well capitalized.”
The Fed and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have been peppering lenders with questions related to interest-rate risks and commercial real estate exposure, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Federal Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said “we do expect that there will be losses” in commercial real estate, and banks that have concentrations in that area will experience bigger losses.