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5 Banks At Risk of a Commercial Real Estate Double Dip

Stocks in this article: NYB FBP BPOP SNV BXS

5. New York Community Bancorp

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Shares of New York Community Bancorp (NYB) are down 20% year-to-date.

The bank is a big lender in the multi-family mortgages business in the New York region, with an emphasis on apartment buildings that feature below market rents. Multi-family loans totaled $16.9 billion as of the first quarter of 2011.

Total commercial real estate exposure stood at about $23 billion in the first quarter or 626% of capital (Tier1 Capital plus loan loss reserves), placing it among the banks with the biggest concentrations in commercial real estate, by that measure. Nonperforming CRE loans stood at 15.1% of total capital. About $388 million worth of multi-family loans were classified as non-accruals.

Peter Winter at BMO Capital says that despite its seemingly high level of nonperforming commercial mortgage assets, historically, New York Community Bank has had a very low charge off rate, partly because of its underwriting standards. "Their average loan-to-value is under 60% - that's a lot of equity. They lend based on cash flow and not market value of the property. Because of the equity in the building and because there is cash flow, the charge-offs are low," he said. "They also focus on the rent control market which is high in demand especially during such weak economic conditions when there is demand for cheaper rental apartments. The vacancy rates are low," he added.

The bank has tried to manage delinquent loans through concessions such as such as rate reductions, extension of maturity dates, and forbearance agreements. As of March 31, 2011, loans on which concessions were made with respect to rate reductions amounted to $258.8 million; loans on which maturities were extended amounted to $55.8 million; and loans in connection with which forbearance agreements were reached amounted to $56.7 million.

However, the lower spreads on the multi-family mortgages has been a point of concern for some analysts. "Although the very solid pipeline of multifamily even at tighter spreads could be cause for the market to get more excited over NYB, the final wrinkle to the NYB story over at least the near term is that refinance activity in the company's core multifamily book is very strong, " analysts at JPMorgan noted in a report in May. "As a result of strong refi activity, despite a very strong pipeline of business, management guided to expect mid-single-digit loan growth in 2011."

13 analysts rate the stock a buy, eight rank it a hold and only one has a sell rating on the stock.

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