NAR: Proposed Federal Banking Rules Could Affect Real Estate Lending

The following is a copy of the letter from NAR’s Associate Commercial Policy Representative Vijay Yadlapati:

A joint industry coalition comment letter just submitted to the regulators regarding the proposed Basel III capital rules. The letter requests that the regulators extend the comment period from 90 to 150 days; it also request that they engage in a study of the impacts the proposed regulations will have on non-financial businesses (e.g., real estate).  Comments on the proposed rules are currently due by September 7, 2012.

Also a letter was sent to regulators from Rep. Peter King (R-NY) raising a number of concerns about the impact the proposed rules will have on credit capacity — particularly with smaller banks.

Background

As you may recall, on June 12, 2012, the Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC proposed regulations implementing the Basel III capital accords. Basel III is an international agreement that updates capital and liquidity requirements for banks and other financial institutions. This 750-page regulation will impact the ability of non-financial businesses to raise capital and increase their costs of borrowing.

In a series of three separate but related proposals, the regulators proposed substantial revisions to the U.S. regulatory capital regimen for banking organizations that, if adopted, will have a significant impact on the entire U.S. banking industry. The U.S. rules are based on the core requirements of the 2011 international Basel III Accord and in significant part on the “standardized approach” for the weighting and calculation of risk-based capital requirements under the 2004-2006 Basel II Accord.  Importantly, the proposals will extend large parts of a regulatory capital regime that was originally intended only for large, internationally active banks to all U.S. banks and their holding companies, other than the smallest bank holding companies (generally, those with under $500 million in consolidated assets).

Commercial Real Estate

Most commercial loans will continue to be risk-weighted at 100 percent. The one significant change is for “high volatility” commercial real estate loans (“HVCRE loans”), a subset of ADC loans. HVCRE loans will be risk-weighted at 150 percent. A lender may be able to return an ADC loan to the 100 percent risk weight through underwriting and the imposition of certain terms, as follows:

•      The LTV ratio is less than or equal to the “applicable maximum supervisory LTV ratio.”

•      The borrower has contributed at least 15 percent of the appraised “as completed” value of the property. The contribution may take the form of cash or unencumbered readily marketable assets, or the borrower may have paid development expenses out of pocket.

•      The borrower has paid to the bank the capital charge that the bank will have to incur on the loan and has done so before the bank advances any funds.

•      The contributed capital, which may eventually include capital generated internally by the project, must remain in place until the project is completed, the facility converts to permanent financing, or is sold or paid in full.

•      Permanent financing by the bank must conform to the bank’s underwriting criteria for long-term commercial mortgage loans. An ADC loan to finance one- to four-family residential properties, however, may continue to be risk-weighted at 100 percent.

Residential Construction and Multifamily Loans

The current risk-based capital rules assign a risk weight of 50 percent to certain one-to-four family residential presold construction loans and to multifamily loans. A 100 percent risk weight applies to a presold construction loan if the purchase contract is cancelled. These risk weights are fixed by statute and cannot be changed. The proposed Standardized Approach, however, adds several new conditions to both kinds of loans in order to qualify for these risk weights.

Presold construction loans must meet several prerequisites designed to ensure that the property will, in fact, be sold on completion. Two notable new requirements are, first, that the builder incur at least the first 10 percent of the direct costs of construction (land, labor, and construction) before the builder may begin to draw down on the loan; and, second, that the loan amount may not exceed 80 percent of the sales price of the presold residence.

Loans secured by mortgages on multifamily properties will remain eligible for the 50 percent risk weight if several conditions are met. For example, a newly originated multifamily loan cannot be risk-weighted at 50 percent and must be weighted at 100 percent. If, after at least one year, the borrower has made all principal and interest payments on time, the loan will be eligible for the 50 percent risk weight, if other conditions are satisfied.

These conditions include the following: (i) the LTV ratio does not exceed 80 percent on a fixed rate loan or 75 percent on a loan where the rate may adjust; (ii) amortization of principal and interest must occur over a period of not more than 30 years, and the original maturity for repayment of principal is not less than seven years; and (iii) annual net operating income of the property must exceed annual debt service by 20 percent for a fixed-rate loan or 15 percent for a loan where the rate may vary.

Basel III Working Group

We have formed a staff level working group with various real estate groups in Washington. This group is meeting regularly to share information and develop a collective strategy on these proposed rules.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you and I hope you have a great weekend.

-Vijay

Vijay Yadlapati

Commercial Policy Representative
National Association of Realtors®
Ph: 202.383.1090
Fx: 202.383.7580

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More Information from the National Association of REALTORS®:

Update from NAR
Letter from NAR
Federal Reserve Press Release

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