Bankers in the second half of last year raised concerns with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. about higher premiums and tighter underwriting requirements, an FDIC ombudsman said Wednesday.

The 643 bankers that contacted the FDIC ombudsman were 27% more than the agency heard from in the first half of 2008.

Executives showed "overall satisfaction" with the FDIC and said the economy was their biggest concern. However, though bankers "typically understand the need for increased premiums, … they are concerned about its negative effect on earnings, capital and availability of credit," according to the report by Ombudsman Cottrell L. Webster.

Some bankers also raised concerns about the effect of policies on credit, citing a "perception that the FDIC has been more critical concerning the credit quality of borrowers." Some also worried the agency's emphasis on loan modifications could hurt profits. (The survey was done before the White House's housing stability plan.)

The report said interagency guidelines issued in November frowned on excessive credit tightening and said modifications do not aim to worsen asset quality. "These loan modification programs should be viewed as a systemic response to already existing asset-quality problem[s] and not a cause related to the existing problems," it said.

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