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Federal Reserve Issues a Toothless Report on the Big Banks

Written by Gary North on August 20, 2013

The Federal Reserve’s primary function since 1914 is to protect large American banks. The FED is the enforcement agency in a banking cartel in which the largest banks possess most of the capital.

Yesterday, the FED issued a report on the lack of capital — too much leverage — of America’s largest banks. The report threatens no sanctions for ignoring the FED’s suggestions. It uses the word “should” throughout. It never hints at “or else.”

The FED issued a press release. It reveals the utter toothlessness of the FED.

Large bank holding companies have considerably improved their capital planning processes in recent years, but have more work to do to enhance their practices for assessing the capital they need to withstand stressful economic and financial conditions, the Federal Reserve said in a paper released on Monday.

The big banks have “more work to do.” This is five years after the big banks got bailed out by Congress and the FED. Why do they have more work to do? Why isn’t the work done? Were there no strings attached to the bailouts?

Of course not. The strings go one way in banking: from the big banks to the FED. The big banks are pulling the strings.

The FED has “expectations.” We all have expectations. What we need to know is what the FED intends to do in order to meet its expectations.

In the paper, the Federal Reserve discussed in detail its expectations for internal capital planning at large bank holding companies and described the range of practices it has observed at these companies during the past three Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) exercises. The Federal Reserve conducts the CCAR annually to help ensure that companies have forward-looking capital planning processes that account for their unique risks and result in sufficient capital to enable the institutions to continue lending to households and businesses during times of economic and financial stress.

This is FEDbabble for: “We suggest. Then the large banks do whatever they choose.”

The paper, Capital Planning at Large Bank Holding Companies: Supervisory Expectations and Range of Current Practice, is intended to promote better capital planning at bank holding companies generally, and to provide greater clarity on the standards against which those practices are evaluated as part of the CCAR exercise. In particular, the Federal Reserve emphasized that bank holding companies, when considering their capital needs, should focus on the specific risks they could face under potentially stressful conditions.

Really? They should? Or else what?

Or else the FED will issue another report.
In its evaluation, the Federal Reserve found that firms needed to improve a number of aspects of their capital planning processes, including their accounting for risks most relevant to the specific business activities, their methods of projecting the effect of certain stresses on their capital needs, and their governance of the capital planning processes.

The banks “need to improve on a number of issues”? They do? And if they don’t, what will the FED do about it?

It will issue another report.

The Federal Reserve will start the 2014 CCAR process in the fall. In addition to the 18 firms that participated in 2013, 12 firms with more than $50 billion in total assets that have not previously been part of the CCAR are expected to participate.

They are “expected to participate.” And if they choose not to, what then?

The FED will issue another report.

Continue Reading on www.federalreserve.gov

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