How the Government Rewards Common Sense

Joseph A. Petrucelli is one of the most cautious bankers in America.

In fact, Petrucelli is so cautious that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recently criticized his bank for not lending enough.

The FDIC’s negative review of East Bridgewater Savings Bank’s loan volume is an anomaly in today’s current banking scene as lenders reel from their role in offering too many cruddy mortgage products to borrowers with weak credit.

Still, the FDIC slapped East Bridgewater Savings with a rare “needs to improve” rating after evaluating the bank under the Community Reinvestment Act.

From late 2003 through mid-2008, East Bridgewater Savings averaged 28 cents in loans for every dollar in deposit. The average loan-to-deposit ratio among similar size savings banks is more than 90 percent, FDIC data show.

“There are no apparent financial or legal impediments that would limit the bank’s ability to help meet the credit needs of its assessment area,” the FDIC said in its CRA evaluation.

FDIC examiners also faulted East Bridgewater for not advertising and marketing its loan products enough. The bank, which does not have a Web site, offers fixed-rate mortgages.

But Petrucelli and his bank occupy the other end of the spectrum in an industry that lost $26.2 billion in the fourth quarter. Even the FDIC’s own deposit insurance fund is in bad need of a boost after paying for an upswing in bank failures.

And then there’s East Bridgewater Savings.

Bad or delinquent loans?

Zero.

Foreclosures?

None.

Money set aside in 2008 for anticipated loan losses?

Nothing.

“We’re paranoid about credit quality,” Petrucelli said. The 62-year-old chief executive has run the bank since 1992.

……East Bridgewater Savings ended 2008 with $135 million in assets and deposits of $84 million.

……But in the eyes of regulators, East Bridgewater Savings looks stingy. Its net loans and leases equaled 21 percent of assets. That compared with 72 percent among 385 savings banks across the country with assets between $100 million and $300 million.

http://boston.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2009/03/16/story3.html?b=1237176000^1793570&page=1

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why our federal government is so incredibly fucked up.

The bureaucrats force banks to lend to people who are not qualified, because of poor credit ratings, to get loans in the first place. Lending institutions are hesitant to front money to high risk borrowers; at least the sensible ones are.

Brain-dead Washington D.C. politicians are more than willing to bail out banks who make bad loans, but punish those who don’t.

The next crash will make 1929 look like a picnic.

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