Banks face commercial real estate trauma, analysts say

After weathering the residential real estate storm, banks will face a brutal battering of commercial loan losses, according to a group of financial industry insiders who spoke at the Reuters Global Finance Summit. Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, said that the overpricing of commercial properties led to a crisis in the market. “The commercial real estate business still has not been marked down. It’s not been marked to market,” Lutnick said. “The economy can’t, in my opinion, grow fast enough that the tenants are going to go out and start hiring and growing and building and take up all these rents at $60 a foot.” The consensus among the panel was that, as U.S. banks held $1.65 trillion in commercial real estate loans as of Nov. 4, they’ve done little to solve the problem, choosing instead to postpone the inevitable. “When you’re in the eye of the hurricane, it sure feels good until you look at the TV screen and then you say, ‘look, the hurricane is all around you,’” Lutnick said.

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