Fed Needs To “Stress Test” Itself As Balance Sheet Balloons To $4.3 Trillion

Saturday, March 29, 2014
By Paul Martin

by GoldCore
ZeroHedge.com
03/29/2014

Fed Stress Tests “Rattle Banks Around The World”

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s stress tests led to jitters in financial markets and in the words of the Financial Times “rattled banks around the world.” Citigroup’s share price was hammered and fell 5.4%

The aftershock of the stress tests was felt beyond U.S. shores for the first time. The U.S. subsidiaries of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and HSBC all failed on “qualitative” grounds, which includes failing to project losses rigorously when contemplating a severe recession or market meltdown.

The Fed said that the banks management practices or capital cushions are not robust enough to withstand a severe economic downturn. Not surprisingly, the banks themselves accused the stress tests as being “opaque”.

Twenty five other banks took part in the Fed’s annual “stress test” and received a green light for their planned dividend payouts and share repurchases. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs initially fell short of minimum capital requirements. However, they met the standards after reducing their planned dividend payments and share buybacks over the past week.

The banks now have 90 days to address the weaknesses and risks identified by the Fed and resubmit their dividend and share buyback plans.

The Fed’s decision was part of the annual checkup it requires of banks with more than $50 billion in assets. Banks must now undergo tests to ensure they can endure shocks like those that upended the banking system and led to the massive government bailouts in the 2008 financial crisis.

In what the Fed sees as the extreme scenario, the test assumed a rise in the 6.7% unemployment rate to 11.2%, a 50% drop in stock prices and a decline in home prices to 2001 levels. All of which appear a strong possibility given debt burdened state of the tapped out U.S. consumer and the poor fundamentals of the U.S. economy.

Indeed real levels of unemployment in the U.S. are likely well over 11% already.

The Rest…HERE

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