Bankers expect to increase their exposure to commercial real estate collateral this year, according to a survey of 75 financial institutions by San Francisco-based Bridger Commercial Funding that suggests the market is now recovering.While bankers reported that credit and underwriting standards would be tighter in the surveys Bridger conducted in 2002 and 2003, they are now indicating that the standards have not changed this year, the company said. Additionally, the survey "found a movement toward bullishness about the sector from neutral sentiments reported since 2002." The respondents expect "moderate-to-strong" performance for multifamily, retail, and warehouse/industrial property and a "moderate-to-weak" performance for office and lodging. Bridger, a commercial mortgage market intermediary, said survey respondents hold on average more than $500 million in CRE-backed loans.

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