Global banks face mounting losses on lending to troubled US commercial property sector

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London, Feb 3 (IANS) Nearly a year on from a banking crisis that led to the collapse of three US regional lenders and the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse in Europe, a fresh chill is running through banks as far apart as New York, Tokyo and Zurich, a media report said.

Common to all of them — mounting losses on lending to the troubled commercial property sector, CNN reported.

On Wednesday, shares in New York Community Bancorp plunged 38 per cent after it reported a loss of $252 million for the last quarter.

The regional lender set aside $552 million in the fourth quarter to absorb loan losses, up from $62 million in the previous quarter. The increase was driven partly by expected losses on a loan used to finance an office building, it said, CNN reported.

The lender helped drag the KBW Regional Banking Index down 6 per cent on Wednesday, its biggest daily fall since last May — the same month California-based First Republic became the third US banking casualty last year.

On Thursday, Japan’s Aozora Bank said bad loans tied to US offices were partly to blame for its projected annual loss of 28 billion yen ($190 million) last year. The lender had previously expected to make a net profit of 24 billion yen ($160 million). The news sent its shares plunging over 21 per cent, CNN reported.

The bank said it would take another year or two for the US office market to “stabilise” as more people returned to work in-person, and as the Federal Reserve moves from hiking interest rates to cutting them.

Losses are mounting in Europe, too. Swiss private bank and wealth manager Julius Baer announced on Thursday that its adjusted profit had tanked 55 per cent last year because it lost 586 million Swiss francs ($680 million) on loans made to a single “European conglomerate”, CNN reported.



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