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  • sugarblooie sugarblooie Mar 21, 2008 1:59 PM Flag

    interesting WSJ article

    Builders' problems are now threatening losses for small and medium-size regional banks. Muscled out of the mortgage business by large national lenders, many of these banks flocked to construction lending as the housing market boomed. Though these institutions were generally less exposed to the subprime-backed securities that have generated billions of dollars in losses for national banks, they are the front-line casualties when builders and developers can't make their payments.

    Delinquencies on loans to build single-family houses reached 7.5% of the value of all such loans in the fourth quarter, up from 2.1% a year earlier, according to Foresight Analytics, an economic and real-estate research firm. There's likely more pain ahead. The Commerce Department reported this week that permits for new housing construction, a barometer of future building activity, fell 7.8% in February to the lowest level in 16 years. Also this week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it had "increased [its] overall concern" about banks with high concentrations of construction loans, particularly those for residential developments, its strongest warning to date about these banks.

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