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August 24, 2009

All Business: The ugly truth about banks' real estate loans

  • Banks might not like the idea of more sunshine on their balance sheets, but the public should.
    AP Business Writer

    NEW YORK — It took the liquidation of Colonial Bank to reveal an ugly truth: the loans on its books were worth a third less than what the failed regional lender had declared them to be just weeks before.

    It's an ominous sign about weaknesses that may be lurking in other banks' loan portfolios. Regulations give banks wide latitude about whether to recognize potential loan losses on their balance sheets, so they remain largely out of view.

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