WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve this week warned its examiners to keep an especially close eye on credit risk at the banks they regulate.

"Current loan delinquency and default rates reflect, in part, the relatively recent vintage of many loans, as well as the prevailing economic environment, and may not be indicative of the performance of the loan portfolio over time," wrote Richard Spillenkothen, director of the Fed's division of banking supervision and regulation, in a letter sent Monday to supervision chiefs at the 12 Federal Reserve banks.

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