Thanks to the "credit crunch," about 500 federal bank and thrift examiners will be meeting in Baltimore early next week.
Four federal regulatory agencies are holding a two-day conference here to review new guidelines on examining commercial real estate loans and to help ensure that loans are available to creditworthy borrowers.
The conference was scheduled early last month after the four regulatory agencies -- the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of Thrift Supervision -- issued a policy statement to set new standards for the valuation of commercial real estate loans.
Regulators have come under sharp and repeated criticism over the past year or so for being overly harsh and unyielding when assessing the value of these loans.
Critics from the banking industry, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere have chided these agencies for forcing unnecessarily large losses at the nation's banks and thrifts. They have also charged that these agencies are causing lenders to rein in their lending.
The meetings, which are not open to the public, will be held at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel from Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening.
Opening remarks will be made by Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady.
Michael J. Boskin, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, will speak on the U.S. economy, and Robert Larson, a member of the Resolution Trust Corp.'s oversight board, will speak on the condition of the commercial real estate market.
John Robson, deputy secretary of the Treasury Department, will provide an overview of the impact of economic factors and the regulatory policies on the availability of credit.