OCC Warns Signs of Credit Risk Are Building in Banking System

Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Intense competition for limited lending opportunities in a slow-growth, low-interest-rate environment is fueling looser, riskier underwriting standards among banks, the OCC warned in a new report. The OCC highlighted two areas in particular where banks took on more risk in the pursuit of profit: high-yielding loans issued to more speculative borrowers and indirect auto loans made through car dealers. Banks are also easing lending standards in commercial loans, the report said. Despite an effort by regulators to clamp down on so-called leveraged lending by warning banks against funding debt-laden deals, leveraged-loan issuance reached a record in 2013.