Bank real estate and trust divisions are increasingly sensitive to environmental risk, a new study from Environmental Data Resources and Dun & Bradstreet Information Services finds.
The group's second annual Financial Institution Environmental Survey, released Monday, found 26% of real estate lending divisions now employ a risk manager, up from 8% the previous year.
Environmental risk managers were employed by 34.4% of credit administration departments, up from 27%.
Among trust departments, 100% have environmental due-diligence policies, up from 98%.
The survey found that nearly one-quarter of the respondents perform environmental due-diligence for equipment financing, and nearly as many perform it for loans secured by receivables.
"The vast majority of lenders and trustees now recognize environmental contamination as a serious financial risk," said Anthony Buonicore, CEO of Environmental Data Resources, and president of the Air & Waste Management Association.
In the future, he said, some type of environmental assessment could be used for all financial transactions. A standardized transaction screen is now being used by 67.2%, up from 38%.
Half the trustee respondents reported being involved in environmental litigation, up from less than one-third; 85% report some environmental contamination in the past five years.