Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thrift Report

The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) just released its third quarter report on the state of the thrift industry. While the market and the media have been focused on the travails of the large cap banks and brokers, the thrift industry is just as important to our financial system as it has $1.57 trillion in assets and originated 30% of all mortgages in the most recent quarter. The full report is available here:

Thrift Industry

Highlights include:

1) Loan loss provisions increased to 0.92 percent of average assets in the third quarter, an increase from 0.22 percent in the third quarter one year ago and from 0.38 percent in the prior quarter.

2) Troubled assets (noncurrent loans and repossessed assets) were 1.19 percent of assets, up from 0.95 percent in the prior quarter and 0.64 percent a year ago.

Loan loss provisions as a percent of average assets are now at the highest level as far back as the report goes (1991).

Although these metrics are high, it can get a lot worse. If you look at page 11 of this report, entitled troubled assets, you can look at the peak back in the early 1990's.

Also, as the report notes, if you exclude the top ten thrifts who are active in originating loans for sale, the industry return on assets would have been much higher.

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