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.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.