RealtyTrac's Pete Miller reports on the skepticism surrounding the Federal Reserve's Senior Loan Officer survey, especially given its somewhat small sample size of 69 domestic banks and 23  branches and agencies of foreign banks. In contrast, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says that it insures deposits at more than 6,300 banks and savings associations.

The Senior Loan Officer reports, released four times a year, are widely quoted and referenced, but often misunderstood. Or, put another way, the reports are long on influence but short on transparency, and accuracy:

Reading the Fed findings is like trying to parse a speech from the Kremlin. If you read it quickly and at face value you’ll see that it doesn’t say the same thing as when read carefully and with caution. 

The Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey offers the illusion of information without actually saying anything concrete. It’s a neat trick, but wouldn’t it be better to provide data that could be used by lenders and consumers to better understand the marketplace?
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