WASHINGTON - A survey of 105 community bankers by the Western Independent Bankers association shows strong support for consolidation of the federal bank regulatory agencies.
Eighty-two percent of the bankers in the survey said they favored some consolidation, according to Nancy E. Sheppard, WIB's executive director.
The results also showed that the majority of banks examined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. during the last one to three months believe that the agencies have become more balanced and cooperative. But the FDIC remained the least popular of the banking agencies.
One result that surprised the WIB was that the opinions of California bankers do not differ significantly from bankers from other Western states, which included Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and California.
"Regulators had been saying that all the bitching and moaning about them was coming from California," said Robb Evans, WIB's government relations chairman and president of First Indo-American Bank, San Francisco.
The survey was sent to 250 bankers during the week of Oct. 2 and responses were returned by Oct. 11. Sixty percent of the respondents were from California. Of the respondents, 62% were from state-chartered banks; state/Fed-member banks constituted 11% of her survey group; and national banks represented 27%.
According to the survey, the majority of banks examined during the last one to three months felt the regulators were more balanced and more cooperative.
Of the banks surveyed by the FDIC, 31% felt the examiners were more blanced and 34% felt they were more cooperative. National banks were more generous in their assesment of OCC examiners. Forty-two percent of them felt their examiners were more balanced and 50% though they were more cooperative.
Camel Ratings Raised
As a result of their latest examination, Camel ratings were upgraded at 11% of the institutions, downgraded at a 15%, and left that same at 74%.
Other findings were as follows:
* At banks examined by the FDIC within the last three months, Camel ratings went up at 12% of the institutions, down at 6% of them, and stayed the same at 82%. At banks examined by the Comptroller's office during the same period, Camel ratings went up at 17%, down at 33%, and remained the same at 50%. There were no rating changes as a result of FED exams.
* Most bankers think administration efforts to ease regulation have had no discernible effect. Asked about appraisal relief, 35% said it made no difference; 76% said the new appeal process for national banks that are unhappy with their exams would not work; 69% saw no benefit in the administration's creation of a low-documentation basket of character loans.; 64% said the ease in financing for OREOs was having no effect; and 57% reaped no benefit from an easing in the classification of "Other Loans Especially Mentioned."
* A whopping 86% approve of Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig's efforts to end duplicative examinations by the FDIC.
* Asked if they approve of Mr. Ludwig's policies overall, 39% of the bankers said yes; 19% said no; and 42% were neutral.