Oct 10 - The credit quality of large loan commitments owned by U.S. banking organizations, foreign banking organizations, and nonbanks was relatively unchanged in 2013 from the prior year, federal banking agencies said.
The volume of criticized assets remained elevated at $302 billion, or 10 percent of total commitments, which was approximately twice the percentage of pre-crisis levels. The stagnation in credit quality follows three consecutive years of improvements. A criticized asset is rated special mention, substandard, doubtful, or loss as defined by the agencies' uniform loan classification standards. The Shared National Credits annual review was completed by the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Leveraged loans - transactions characterized by a borrower with a degree of financial leverage that significantly exceeds industry norms - totaled $545 billion of the 2013 SNC portfolio and accounted for $227 billion, or 75 percent, of criticized SNC assets. Material weaknesses in the underwriting of leveraged loans were observed, and 42 percent of leveraged loans were criticized by the agencies.
The federal banking agencies issued updated leveraged lending supervisory guidance on March 21, 2013. After declining during the financial crisis, the volume of leveraged lending has since increased and underwriting standards have deteriorated. The agencies expect supervised firms to properly evaluate and monitor credit risks in their leveraged loan commitments and ensure borrowers have sustainable capital structures.
Refinancing risk continued to ease in 2013 with only 15 percent of SNCs maturing over the next two years, compared with 23 percent for the same time frame in the previous review. Borrowers continued to refinance and extend loan maturities during the past year.
The SNC program was established in 1977 to provide an efficient and consistent review and analysis of SNCs. A SNC is any loan or formal loan commitment, and asset such as real estate, stocks, notes, bonds, and debentures taken as debts previously contracted, extended to borrowers by a federally supervised institution, its subsidiaries, and affiliates that aggregates $20 million or more and is shared by three or more unaffiliated supervised institutions. Many of these loan commitments are also shared with FBOs and nonbanks, including securitization pools, hedge funds, insurance companies and pension funds.
In conducting the 2013 SNC Review, the agencies reviewed $800 billion of the $3.01 trillion credit commitments in the portfolio. The sample was weighted toward noninvestment grade and criticized credits. The results of the review are based on analyses prepared in the second quarter of 2013 using credit-related data provided by federally supervised institutions as of Dec. 31, 2012, and March 31, 2013.