Banks are relaxing their underwriting criteria for most types of loans, with the exception of home equity lines, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reports. Standards for that type of credit tightened during the 18 months ended June 30, likely because of residual fallout from the housing market crisis and increased regulation. While many lenders have complained that new mortgage rules that took effect this month will squeeze mortgage credit, the timing of the OCC survey offers no glimpse into the impact so far.
For now, more than three-quarters of the banks polled by the OCC said they have not changed their underwriting standards for residential real estate from 2012. Increased competition and high liquidity, meanwhile, did encourage banks to ease standards for credit cards, asset-based lending, and leverage loans.