Bankers not as optimistic about the economy as Obama

Although the President claimed in his State of the Union address that the worst of the economic storm has passed us by, he apparently didn't consult with bankers who answered the January survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve.

Had Mr. Obama done so, he'd have found out that, in fact, when it comes to mortgage loans, bankers are not exactly upbeat about the near term future.

In fact, according to the survey, credit standards are still being tightened as bankers expect delinquencies to continue to rise.

For prime real estate loans, 17 % of banks say they tightened their standards, while 30% of banks answered the same way about non-traditional loans.

If there was any good news out of the survey, perhaps it is this: As pointed out by the finance blog Calculated Risk, while banks may still be turning the screws on potential homebuyers for mortgage loans, more and more banks have apparently stopped tightening their standards for other forms of consumer credit.

I should point out, though, that while they may have stopped tightening the standards, this is not the same thing as loosening them. Most have not.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate and related issues for several years.
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