28 Jun '11, 3pm

Local banks face risk exposure to home loans

SINGAPORE : Home loans have been a major driver of the lending business for the three local banks, but they could also be a drag in the event of a downturn in the property market, according to global debt watcher Fitch Ratings. Fitch Ratings estimates that home mortgages and construction-related loans account for 50 per cent, or half, of the three local banks' total loan books. The latest figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed that housing loans rose 22 per cent year-on-year to S$118 billion in April. That is about a third of all bank lending here. As a result, local banks may face stress if the property market starts to soften, as this may cause their balance sheets to take a hit. Alfred Chan, director for financial institutions, Fitch Ratings, said: "Fifty per cent of Singapore bank loans are to the property sector in the form of home loans and construct...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessn...

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