Atlanta Fed Supervision Head Discusses Banks, Their Environment

January 5, 2022

By Doris Quiros, Senior Vice President
Supervision, Regulation, and Credit
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

In the last edition of “ViewPoint,” I provided a short description of my background prior to assuming the role of head of the Atlanta Fed’s Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Division (SRC). As we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, I would like to applaud the Credit Risk Management group (CRM) and its team of professionals, who have ensured the smooth flow of credit in the financial system through great uncertainty. CRM provides liquidity to the depository institutions within the Sixth District through multiple credit facilities, including the discount window, emergency lending programs, and intraday credit. It is also responsible for managing financial risk and effectively administering and implementing payment system risk and reserves administration policy.

The discount window
During the pandemic and financial crisis, and at other times, we have witnessed the importance of the discount window and the central bank serving as lender of last resort. Our team has produced a flyer discussing access to funding in a straightforward way. The flyer takes depository institutions through the steps of accessing the window in times of need, including submitting legal agreements and pledging collateral. I hope you will review and share this document with the funding managers at your respective institutions. At the onset of the pandemic, new funding programs and credit facilities were rolled out virtually overnight with very little time to absorb the guidelines. We couldn’t be more proud of our dedicated teams, many of whom raised their hands and asked to take this work on. They worked long hours processing loan requests and ensuring quick turnaround times for the financial institutions who participated in Paycheck Protection Program facilities through the discount window.

Discussing real estate
Real estate is an important asset class in the Sixth District, and I have observed great real estate expertise among our examiners and subject matter experts. Examination teams work closely with our supervised institutions to fully understand their credits and lending footprints. Examiners participate in the Shared National Credit Program (remotely, during the past year) reviewing complex loans and working closely with our subject matter experts to understand local markets and asset classes. I am a big believer in transparency: openness in examinations that result in “no surprises” and in the data we review that support our findings. We have made available our leading data tools and focused publications on real estate trends as well as banks’ financial condition.

In residential real estate, surging home prices across the District have weakened housing affordability. In commercial real estate, mall vacancy rates continue to be elevated, and labor shortages have introduced greater friction in retail spaces. Updated monthly, our Home Ownership Affordability Monitor presents a geographic monitor of metro- and county-level home affordability. Our Commercial Real Estate Momentum Index allows users to analyze commercial real estate conditions for four property sectors in 300 markets across 20 variables. The Atlanta Fed’s commercial and residential real estate experts offer their commentaries using these tools in our articles, webinars, and podcasts.

State of the District
Third-quarter asset quality metrics were largely unchanged from the prior quarter, with loan losses and net charge-offs near historical lows. Our quarterly State of the District section assesses Sixth District banks’ earnings and financial position. (You can hover over the charts’ lines to compare changes over time or click “export” to use a chart you like for your own presentations.)

In the coming year, we will invite industry experts to share their perspectives and insights, and we are happy to announce that Ali Wolfe, chief economist from Zonda, will be one of the presenters at our annual Banking Outlook Conference on February 24, 2022. Ali has focused much of her career on understanding recessions, and I look forward to hearing her perspectives and outlook on housing for 2022. This will be our second year offering the conference virtually. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to bankingoutlookconference@atl.frb.org.

Moving ahead
In my first 90 days as the head of SRC at the Atlanta Fed, I have dived into the deep end! Along with our Bank president, Raphael Bostic, I met with the executive management team of one of our Significant Service Providers (SSPs), for which we have supervisory authority. SSPs contribute much of the backbone infrastructure for financial services and are at the forefront of industry innovation. These meetings advance our understanding of how financial innovation technologies are changing the financial services landscape. Similarly, I intend to meet with all state member bank executive teams, share our supervisory approach, and listen closely to understand their outlooks, challenges, and hurdles. If you aren’t aware of the benefits of Federal Reserve supervision, watch this video and check out some of our other bank supervision resources.

After almost two years of video conferences, we in SRC are looking forward to personal engagement with our teammates and stakeholders. An August event—an Ask the Fed discussion titled “Supervisory Posture for Small Banks as Pandemic Conditions Improve”—stated that we will take a more flexible approach to examinations and how we conduct them. We have been away from our physical offices since the beginning of the pandemic and will undertake a hybrid in-office/at-home work approach in 2022. We will strive to find the best of both virtual and in-person work for both day-to-day operations and bank examinations, and I look forward to effective communication between bankers and supervisory staff to maintain strong working relationships.

I hope to see you virtually at our Banking Outlook Conference in February and in person (fingers crossed) throughout the year! Please reach out to me at ViewPoint@atl.frb.org with any comments, questions, or feedback.

Best wishes for the new year—

photo of Doris Quiros
Doris Quiros

Executive Vice President, Supervision, Regulation, and Credit
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta