Loan portfolios at Florida banks swelled by $5 billion during the final three months of 2012, as financial institutions provided funding allowing their business customers to buy equipment and real estate, expand their operations and boost their payrolls. It’s been a welcome relief for many companies that found it difficult or impossible to get credit during the economic downturn. Observers fear that easing of community bank credit could be threatened by shifts in staffing at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the agency that provides regulatory oversight for the state’s financial service providers.
It is unsettling to bankers when they are confronted with a new examiner with whom they are not familiar, said Banking Law Partner Charles Stutts. "Until you are comfortable that this loan wont be viewed as ultra-risky, or given a status where you have to reserve against it more heavily, you may not make that loan," said Mr. Stutts.
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