Citigroup May Close Branches; Dollar General's IPO; Regulations May Crimp Bank's Ability to Lend on Commercial Real Estate (Tuesday's News & Notes)

I was offline much of yesterday. Here's a roundup of links and news stories from the past 24 hours or so that you might find to be of interest.

  • Bloomberg reported on Friday that Citigroup is considering shrinking its bank branch network. Currently, it operates 1,001 branches in the United States and Canada. According to the story, "Citigroup, ranked third among U.S. lenders by assets, would narrow its North American retail focus to areas where it has higher branch concentrations, said the person, who declined to be identified because the plans are still under discussion. "
  • Our sister publication Supermarket News reported more details about Dollar General's upcoming IPO.
  • FinCri Advisor has an interesting story analyzing how new regulatory scrutiny could affect how banks lend on commercial real estate.
    Regulatory scrutiny of commercial lending has ratcheted up, with examiners searching Call Reports for banks that exceed what once were suggested thresholds for CRE or ADC loan concentrations and demanding justification for it. A FinCri Advisor analysis reveals that nearly 2,000 banks fit that category, with FDIC examiners citing CRE lending in 15% of C&D orders this year vs. just 2.8% in 2008.

    Banking analysts expect that is just the beginning. "Wait until next year when this thing starts to blow up," says Bill Nayda, an economist and principal at Second Pillar Consulting in Glen Allen, Va., which specializes in capital management.

    It's well worth reading how the new regulations will affect banks going forward, including forcing banks that have high ratios of commercial real estate loans to act.

  • Real Property Alpha posted a CNBC clip featuring comments about how control of real estate has tipped too far into the hands of financial engineers. The argument in the segment is that real estate pros need to be at the helm again.
  • Investment News examines the spate of real estate IPOs. It turns out investors aren't sold on the idea of funding investment in distressed real estate. Three IPOs had to be postponed as a result.
  • David Stejkowski asks "Are we in a cycle or a reset?"
  • Big Lots has taken advantage of the current climate to score some choice real estate for its stores. BNET profiles how the retailer has gone about pursuing its real estate strategy.
  • Retail Forward predicted a flat holiday shopping season. Now ICSC has released its preliminary forecast and expects sales to rise about 1 percent in November and December.
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