Alarmed by recent examiners' reports of increasing credit risk in high loan-to-value home equity portfolios, the four bank and thrift regulatory agencies clarified existing guidance on the subject Tuesday.

"This guidance is really just intended to get it out on the table; these loans are riskier than typical home equity loans, and bankers need to recognize that," said David Gibbons, deputy comptroller at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

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