Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said the worst appears to be over for the U.S. banking industry, though a sluggish economy and continuing real-estate issues — combined with regulatory uncertainty — mean the sector isn't likely to see a quick rebound.
Banks have posted generally improved results this year, rebounding from dismal results in early 2009, but fears have mounted lately that economic recovery in the U.S. may be slowing.
S&P analyst Robert Hansen said Friday in a new report that banks are concerned about the implementation of new regulations under the recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He noted that although those in the market are familiar with the general scope of the act, they are unclear on certain aspects of it.
The ratings agency went on to say that the weak, although slowly improving, U.S. economy still is playing "a large part in holding down overall bank fundamentals. Loan performance appears to be stabilizing in some categories, such as credit cards and commercial loans, but the rate of nonperforming loans remains high while the sluggish housing and commercial real estate markets remain a concern."