WASHINGTON - The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Tuesday that banks should expect increased pressure on earnings next year and warned them not to compensate by easing underwriting standards.

"Don't try to cut costs by cutting loan review," warned Nancy Wentzler, the OCC's deputy comptroller for global banking and financial analysis. The rate of default in commercial loan portfolios is on the rise, she said, and though most of the pain is being felt by banks holding pieces of large syndicated loans, those problems could easily spread.

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