Wow, Corus Bankshares (CORS), which makes loans to condo developers, beat the third quarter consensus by 8 cents. Buyer beware, however. According to disclosures in the company’s earnings release:
"Aside from the effects on our new loan origination volumes, the slowdown in the housing market is also impacting Corus in terms of credit quality of loans already on our books. We have seen various projects that are experiencing slower sales of condominium units and/or lower prices than the developer or we would like. While construction projects are clearly not immune to the forces of the slowdown, conversion projects presently seem to be displaying more obvious signs of weakness. So far, we can report that we have only one condominium conversion loan which is nonaccrual and one additional loan listed as a Potential Problem Loan. However, we have had numerous other loans that have experienced meaningful problems, but in these cases, the borrowers or their financial backers have stepped up to the plate and invested additional dollars, signed financial guarantees or taken other actions that have strengthened the loan from our perspective." (For now.)
The company continued:
"We have yet to experience any situation where we have had to foreclose on a property nor have we incurred any losses, but it would not surprise us if we did. We believe that our loans were underwritten conservatively, leaving room for our loan amounts to increase or the collateral values to decrease and still have the bank get repaid in full. However, we will not hesitate to foreclose if the borrower does not support a loan that is in distress. In general, we would not agree to a work-out if a borrower approaches us with the attitude that we should leave him in control of the project and give him all of the upside if the market turns around, but leaves the bank to take all of the downside risk."
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