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Tightening the Credit Screws

Emily Maltby

In the depths of the credit crunch, community lenders became a popular financing source for Main Street. But small-business owners may need to work harder to get support from local banks these days.

Even though most community banks came through the financial collapse in good health, with lots of capital and liquidity to extend loans, some of them have gone under. So, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies are increasing their scrutiny of local lenders to spot troubled assets and keep the banks in solid financial shape. As part of the effort, the watchdogs are asking the banks to boost their capital and loan-loss reserves even further—which means raising more money, getting more selective about making new loans and canceling the risky loans on their books.

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