Saturday, January 22, 2011

Survey Cites Four California Banks With Possibly Risky Realty Loans

Four California banks-Union Bank, First Interstate, Bank of California and Wells Fargo-are among the top banks nationwide with the largest exposure to potentially risky real estate construction and development loans, a survey released Friday shows.
Several out-of-state units of California banks also have high exposures, according to the survey published by U.S. Banker magazine. Security Pacific Corp.'s Arizona operation had the highest level in the nation, although that unit is a small part of the Los Angeles banking company's overall operations.
Although some banks here could be vulnerable to a real estate downturn, statistics from regulators show that real estate-related problems among California banks are nowhere near the troubles facing institutions in the Northeast. And officials of some of the California banks in question contended on Friday that their real estate loan portfolios are of top quality or are in strong markets.
The survey comes amid increased nervousness among investors, banking experts and regulators as both residential and commercial real estate markets have softened in once-booming areas, mainly in the Northeast and Arizona. The spreading problem has led to concerns that real estate free-falls experienced in New England this year and earlier in Texas could hit California-a position generally disputed by economists and banking experts.
The U.S. Banking survey, conducted by Alex Sheshunoff & Associates of Austin, Tex., measured exposure as the ratio of a bank's construction and land development loans to its equity capital. Figures were compiled using data from the second quarter ended June 30.
The survey found that at least 40 of the nation's 100 largest banks have lent more than 100% of their equity-a measure similar to net worth-to finance risky construction loans.
The percentage for Union Bank in San Francisco, a unit of Bank of Tokyo, was 239%. The level for San Francisco-based Bank of California, a unit of Japan's Mitsubishi Bank, was 207%. First Interstate's California unit, based in Los Angeles, had a 181% level. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo's was 179%, and Security Pacific's Arizona unit led all at 347%.
But many lenders and economists believe that the situation for California lenders is markedly different than for lenders elsewhere, even though there has been sluggishness in office and hotel markets here, and the high cost of housing is squeezing potential buyers.
They note that the state's economy is still strong and diverse, demand for housing continues strong and widespread overbuilding has not occurred. Last week, economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said they saw no signs of a real estate recession in California. Indeed, most real estate problems for California banks are at Arizona and Texas units.
U.S. Banker Editor Robert A. Bennett said the survey is not meant to imply that banks involved in extensive construction lending will have problems, nor is it meant to predict which ones will suffer losses. But, Bennett said, banks with the highest exposure could face big losses if the nation's real estate downturn continues to spread and worsen.
Real estate loans include residential loans, such as home loans and home equity loans, and commercial real estate loans, typically those used to develop, build and purchase apartment buildings, housing tracts, shopping centers, office buildings and hotels. Commercial real estate loans are especially risky because of the volatile market.
Banks in California have increasingly turned to real estate loans, which is a higher-profit, higher-risk business. In the quarter ended Sept. 30, the portfolio of California real estate loans made by banks totaled $98.9 billion, up 25% from a year earlier, according to figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
FDIC statistics show that the percentage of bank real estate loans made in California that are either 90 days or more past due, or do not earn interest, has actually dropped within the past year. As of Sept. 30, the percentage was 1.86% of $98.9 billion in real estate loans, 27th among states in the nation. That compares to 2% at June 30 and 2.26% at Sept. 30, 1988.
California's percentage also was below the national averages of 2.84% on Sept. 30. In addition, FDIC figures show that although real estate loans make up about 42% of the total loan portfolio of banks in California, that is not unusually high by national standards.


Bank of New England, the ailing Boston institution that last week forced out its chief executive officer, Walter Connolly Jr., ranked ninth in the country in a recent survey measuring construction lending as a percentage of net worth.
The figure vividly highlights the primary source of Bank of New England's problems as it struggles to cope with loans gone sour in a regional economy that has drawn to a virtual standstill.
With an equity base of $773 million, Bank of New England carried loans valued at $1.56 billion for construction and land development projects, or 202 percent of the bank's equity, as of June 1989.
After several years of nonstop growth, Bank of New England is having to establish reserves for millions of dollars in questionable loans. The institution is under intense scrutiny from federal regulators who have set up shop in the bank's Boston offices.
Construction lending is among the highest-risk categories of financing. "Heavy construction lending does not necessarily mean that a bank will be in trouble, but the potential for big trouble is there," said Robert A. Bennett, editor of US Banker magazine, which ranked the banks in its January issue.
Bennett said real-estate lending often puts banks on a financial roller coaster, with profits high during building booms, but busting on the downside.
The US Banker study shows that 40 of the nation's 100 largest banks have loaned more than 100 percent of their equity to finance such high-risk construction projects.
Fleet/Norstar Financial Corp. of Providence, which has been singled out as a likely bidder for Bank of New England, ranked 14th on the list, with construction loans representing 167 percent of common equity. Despite its high ranking on the list, Fleet has yet to demonstrate systemic problems with its loan portfolio.
Not so the Bank of Boston. The big money-center bank that turned inward to regional after getting burned in Latin America is feeling the real-estate pinch. It ranked 20th on the list, with construction loans representing 148.5 percent of equity.
The following lists the top 10 banks and their construction loans as a percentage of common equity as of June 1989:
1. Security Pacific (Ariz.) 347.0%
2. Maryland National Bank 341.7
3. Midatlantic (N.J.) 327.0
4. Riggs (Washington) 281.5
5. American Security (Washington) 250.6
6. Union Bank (Calif.) 238.5
7. Barnett (Fla.) 211.4
8. Bank of California 207.5
9. Bank of New England 202.3
10. Marine Midland (N.Y.) 184.4
JSIMON;12/29 CORCOR;01/01,16:04 BANKS30

The Job Development For Women

* This study is a condensation of the 1988 Research Report 200 -- 7 by Yong-Ja Shin, Kyoung-Ock Shim, and Seung-Joo Yang.
- For the Cooperative Project with United Nations Development Program --
1. Background and Purpose
According to Government data, the number of enterprise with five or more employees increased from 17,108 in 1975 to 107, 412 in 1986, and the types of occupations have increased from 1,532 in 1974 to 10,451 in 1986.
Such a growth in the domestic economy has lead to an increase in the demand of female resources in economic activities. The data show that the rate of participation by women in economic activities has increased from 39.6 percent in 1975 to 45.0 percent in 1987. This apparent increase in women's participation has been reflected in government policies which include signing the UN Agreement on the Equality of the Sexes in 1985, organized a section on women's development in the sixth economic and social development plan in 1987, and enacting a law for the equal employment for men and women in 1987.
Still, the vast majority of female workers in Korea are employed in occupations which require only simple skills. In addition, the employment rate of the highly-educated women has actually dropped from 52.9 percent in 1975 to 26.6 percent in 1986, showing that it has become increasingly difficult for those women to find jobs.
Also, as the nation's economy enters a state of steady and slower growth, it is expected that the structure of women employment will be characterized by something quite different from that of the past period of the rapid economic growth.
This research was based on an awareness of the above-mentioned problems and was conducted for the following purposes:
First, to understand the characteristics of the jobs that have been filled by women so far, and to forecast changes in the future structure of labor demands so as to identify prospective jobs for women in the future.
Second, to select from these prospective jobs occupations for low-income female workers, so as to provide basic materials for Job Development Programs for Low Income Women, which is a joint project of the Korean Women's Development Institute and the United Nations Development Program.
2. Subject Matter and the Methods of Research
A survey of personnel managers of 90 enterprises with more than 500 employees each. Interviews were conducted on learn their opinions on the prospective jobs for women.
Prior to conducting the survey, previous literature was reviewed to examine trends in women's occupations.
The 1979, 1983 and 1987 editions of Annual Report on Occupational Wage Survey, published by the Ministry of Labor, were utilized in this research, to study occupational changes during the last decade.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Construction Boom Overbuilds Tulsa

Real estate in the 1980s came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.
Riding the tide of a booming economy, rapid population growth and the generous lending practices stemming from banking deregulation, developers built Tulsa until all sectors of real estate grew fat.
Then a locally depressed economy, population exodus and investment-prohibitive tax laws changed all that in the mid 1980s. The city has been trying to recover since.
The new decade brought in a steady stream of new Oklahomans who were either transplanted by employers or came here because they'd heard there were jobs in Tulsa. While the rest of the nation was coping with a recession, Tulsa was booming.
In 1980, the typical home here sold for about $54,352, up from the $48,000 average price the previous year. Thirty-year fixed-rate loans were made at a lofty 16 percent interest rates or higher. Inflation was so rampant that the average monthly house payment for a home bought in 1980 was 33 percent higher than that of a home bought in 1979.
But in spite of high lending rates, home sales continued to remain strong, largely because of escalating home values, which in some cases inflated one percent of more per month.
Other housing markets were growing too. Apartment vacancies ranged from 5 percent to 10 percent, even after rapid developments in the late `70s. In Tulsa, the Hardesty Co. and Lincoln Property Co. were the largest landlords and one news account proclaimed 1982 as the "Year of the Apartment Builder."
By early January in 1983, builders set a record for filing permits for single-family residences: 153 in one month.
On the commercials side, investors and developers from across the country were eyeing Tulsa. Besides the physical needs for more space, banking deregulations in the late `70s allowed for non-traditional commercial lenders, such as savings and loans and insurance companies, to get in on the development action.
"It made it lucrative for people who were not bankers to get into ownership of these types of properties. Some of those people were aggressive," says Grover Bauer, president of Bauer & Associates Realtors and author of a real estate investment newsletter.
The outside developers and investors came in and the cash flowed, putting the city full swing into a building frenzy that covered all sectors of real estate.
The central business district downtown was experiencing a 2 percent to 3 percent office vacancy rate. Citywide, the vacancy was about 6 percent and developers began leaning more towards suburban development.
Broken Arrow, already a hot spot for home building, declared itself the fastest-growing city in Oklahoma. Right behind it were Owasso, Claremore, Glenpool, Collinsville, Bixby and Jenks.

Financial Institutions Fail, Merge, Close

The Monetary Decontrol Act, plunging oil prices, poor management, supply side economics, recession --they all add up to the worst decade since the Depression for Oklahoma's financial institutions.
"A tremendous amount of outside capital and credit came to Oklahoma from Texas and the East and West Coasts, mostly for energy and real estate deals," said Mark Brackin, head of Broadhurst Financial Group. "It fueled inflation here so substantially that once it got out of sync with market realization, the whole thing collapsed. People were making deals based on 21 percent interest rates and $40 a barrel oil."
The drop in oil and real estate prices undermined the value of borrowers' collateral. S&Ls, traditionally lenders to home and commercial builders and buyers, found themselves with more mortgage foreclosures than they ever had to face.
Also, management in some institutions failed in their jobs, making loans to people who lied on applications and not closely monitoring borrowers.
Finally, there were the out-and-out crooks -- officers and directors embezzling, making false reports and taking loan kickbacks.
"Previously, you had to show a need for a bank in order to get a charter," Brackin said. "After decontrol, if you had the money, you could get a charter. That doesn't work.
"We have 450 banks in the state now. We have worked off the excesses in the market, but there are still too many banks for the economy. We'll see a lot of consolidation in the coming years."
Oklahoma saw 102 banks and many thrifts go under during the decade.
Most failures occurred within a 50-mile radius of Oklahoma City, said Brackin, and the second-highest number happened around the Anadarko Basin.
"Most of the outside credit came through Oklahoma City then went down the road because that's where a lot of the oil and gas deals were going on. Failures were pretty light in the rest of the state -- three in the southern part and a few in the southeast around McAlester. The northeast quadrant excluding Tulsa had only three failures."
The first bank to tumble was a giant -- Penn Square Bank in Oklahoma City.
The bank collapsed in July 1982 -- after experiencing 1,500 percent growth over seven years --under the weight of energy loans it could not collect. Some of the loans were sold to other institutions around the country; Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust Co., Seafirst and Chase Manhattan Bank had more than $2 billion in loans. In fact, Chicago-based Continental Illinois needed a $4.5 billion bailout from the government in 1984 to survive the largest run on deposits in banking history.
William Patterson, former head of energy lending at Penn Square, was convicted of bank and wire fraud charges.
Another Penn Square executive and one from Continental Illinois were convicted of fraud, obstruction of justice and doctoring bank records.
The parents of First National Bank & Trust Co. of Tulsa and Liberty National Bank & Trust Co. in Oklahoma City completed a merger in the summer of 1984, creating, at the time, the largest bank holding company in the state. The new parent company, Banks of Mid-America Inc., underwent restructuring and raised $75 million in new equity capital in October last year.
Tulsa-based Republic Bank, Republic Bancorporation, Republic Trust & Savings Co. and Republic Financial Corp. went under in September 1984.
Each of those four companies, in addition to several oil firms and insurance firms, were controlled by Wes McKinney, who acted as chairman of their boards from the late 1970s through most of 1984. Regulators removed him from the financially troubled Republic companies, and Republic Trust, Republic Bancorporation and Republic Financial were placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 24, 1984.

Even more games will be available for football fans

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue recently stated that games not available on free TV may eventually be bought by fans on a pay-per- view channel.
In other words, if you don't want to watch Buffalo Bills all the time, there would be a way out, without spending several thousand dollars for a satellite dish. So far, Canadians do not have pay-per- view access.
But this isn't going to happen next season. It's probably at least three years down the road. There are about 12 million homes wired for the service in the U.S., with the number increasing by about 2 million annually.
The revenue potential is mind-boggling.
Every NFL game is telecast somewhere, but the maximum in league markets is five per week out of 14 and expansion is coming.
The NFL will start negotiating its new TV contract within weeks. CBS and NBC are expected to put up strong opposition to the pay-TV suggestions as it would cut into their audiences. The NFL is aiming at $23 million to $25 million per team from its new contract. Each now collects about $17 million.
* Speaking of TV, CBS has added Mike Ditka, Chicago Bears coach, to its panel of experts for the playoffs.
Injury update: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Eric Allen is questionable and Houston Oilers defensive end Ray Childress will miss today's wild-card playoff games. Childress cracked a fibula three weeks ago and Allen sprained an ankle three weeks ago in dressing room horseplay. He was fined $6,000 by coach Buddy Ryan and has limped through the last two games.
The quotebook: Is this really Jerry Glanville speaking? The guy who insults other coaches, and has so annoyed Chuck Noll and Sam Wyche that neither will speak civilly to him? Maybe it's because Glanville's Oilers are playing the Steelers today.
"When you look at where they started the season and how far they've come, I think he (Noll) deserves (to be coach of the year)," Glanville said. "It really is a vote for 12 guys because their entire coaching staff did an outstanding job.
"When we beat them 27-0, I saw things that you see only in a championship team. They were down by 27 points and they were still trying to kill us."
* San Diego Chargers coach Dan Henning isn't "anointing" young Billy Joe Tolliver to start ahead of Jim McMahon next year, despite the youngster's late-season success.
"Those who are in a position to anoint have lifetime contracts," Henning said. "You know, popes, bishops and owners have the ability to anoint and go back on their positions - I don't."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frank Smith, investment banker Series: OBITUARIES

ST. PETERSBURG - Frank S. Smith, retired vice president and trust officer in charge of the trust investment division of Union Trust National Bank, now C & S Bank, died Friday (Dec. 29, 1989) of cancer at his residence, 650 Pinellas Point Drive S. He was 74.
``Frank was recognized by his peers and banking associates as one of the finest trust investment officers in the state of Florida and throughout the South,`` said James S. Craig, retired head of the trust department at the former Landmark Union Trust Bank.
`` Additionally, he was a very close personal friend for more than 25 years,`` Craig said.
Before joining Union Trust National Bank in 1960, he was an account executive and representative of several nationally known brokerage firms locally and in Baltimore and Kansas City, Kan., where he was with Merrill Lynch. He retired in 1979.
A native of Baltimore, he came here in 1956 from Meridian, Miss., where he also was a broker. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
He was former chairman of the Trust Investment Committee of the Florida Bankers Association and had taught bank investment courses at the American Institute of Bankers in St. Petersburg.
He was a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral and a former member of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and Lakewood Country Club.
During World War II, he served as a captain in the Army Air Forces.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth ``Libby``; a daughter, Jodi S. Borowsky, Vienna, Va.; and three grandchildren.
Friends may call from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday at Kenfield-Woodlawn Funeral Home, 200 Pasadena Ave. S, where a funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with the Rev. Walter Cawthorne officiating.
Burial will follow in Woodlawn-Memory Gardens Cemetery.