From Bloomberg

U.S. regional banks with large energy exposures including Comerica Inc. and Zions Bancorp could suffer higher losses than analysts predict if oil prices continue to fall, according to a Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services report.

Only two of the 10 regional banks stress-tested by the ratings firm remained profitable before paying out dividends under the most adverse scenario, which assumes energy commitments rise 25 percent from current levels, according to the report issued Thursday. The uncertainty surrounding the energy industry could mean banks’ losses are significantly greater than even the most adverse scenario predicts, said Stuart Plesser and Devi Aurora, the primary credit analysts for the report.

“Our outlooks for most of these banks remain negative, and given the unpredictability of energy prices, losses may be higher than we expect, even affecting loans outside of direct energy lending,” Plesser and Aurora said in the report. “U.S. regional banks are still in the early stages of losses.”

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