Search Results for: stress test

Congressman Andy Barr Stacks a Hearing on the Fed’s Stress Tests with Lobbyists for Megabanks

Congressman Andy Barr

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 27, 2024 ~ Yesterday the House Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Stress Testing: What’s Inside the Black Box?” The hearing was convened to examine the manner in which the Federal Reserve conducts its stress tests of the megabanks. The witnesses called to testify included the following: an employee of the Financial Services Forum, a registered lobbyist for  banks; an employee of the Bank Policy Institute, a registered lobbyist for banks; Jonathan Gould, a lawyer from Jones Day, whose clients are banks; and one lonely soul, Greg Feldberg, Research Director of the Yale Program on Financial Stability, who was the only credible voice on the witness panel. The Chair of this Subcommittee is Andy Barr, a Republican from Kentucky whose largest four campaign donors are the following: employees of the Wall Street private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Blackstone … Continue reading

Wall Street Watchdog Assails Fed’s Stress Tests of Mega Banks as “Toothless” – Provides a Wakeup Call to Biden Administration

Dennis Kelleher

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 2, 2021 ~ Dennis Kelleher, the co-founder, President and CEO of the nonpartisan Wall Street watchdog, Better Markets, has issued a scathing rebuke of the Federal Reserve’s so-called “stress tests” of the mega banks on Wall Street, calling them “toothless.” Kelleher’s criticisms revolve around two key points. The Fed is preordaining the outcome of the tests by (1) pumping up the banks’ capital with financial handouts prior to the tests and (2) by removing key aspects of the stress tests that would negatively impact the outcome. Kelleher writes that the Fed’s “unprecedented” support to financial markets and the economy since last March was $4 trillion and “has materially helped to bolster bank balance sheets and capital levels.” But Kelleher is overlooking the more than $9 trillion in cumulative repo loans that the Fed showered on the trading units of these mega Wall Street banks, at … Continue reading

The Fed Announces New Bank Stress Tests: Will Look at What Would Happen if a Major Counterparty Defaulted

Randal Quarles

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 17, 2020 ~ At the time the Fed released the results of its bank stress tests in June, it announced that because of the pandemic and unprecedented economic downturn, it would require additional stress testing of the biggest banks later this year. This afternoon, the Fed released those plans. Among the various hypothetical scenarios that the banks will have to perform against, 13 of the banks with significant trading operations will have to consider what would happen if a major counterparty blew up. The banks that will have to submit outcomes under this scenario include: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays US, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank USA, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, State Street, UBS, and Wells Fargo. The Fed will release bank-specific results before the end of the year. All 34 banks will face two hypothetical … Continue reading

Bombshell Report: Fed Is Aware that Big Banks Are Rigging their Stress Tests and Letting Them Get Away with It

Randal Quarles

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 11, 2020 ~ On January 31 of this year, researchers for the Federal Reserve released a study that showed that the largest banks operating in the U.S. have been gaming their stress test results by intentionally dropping their exposure to over-the-counter derivatives in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter data is the information used by the Federal Reserve to determine surcharges on capital for Global Systemically Important Banks, or G-SIBs. The report, “How Do U.S. Global Systemically Important Banks Lower Their Capital Surcharges?,” was written by Jared Berry, Akber Khan, and Marcelo Rezende. We decided to evaluate this claim for ourselves, using the quarterly derivative reports provided by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator of national banks. The data was appalling. The largest Wall Street banks not only dropped their level of derivatives by trillions of dollars in the fourth … Continue reading

Fed’s Stress Tests Results Based on GDP Decline of 8.5 Percent; Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecast Says GDP Will Decline by 46.6 Percent

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 26, 2020 ~ Yesterday the Federal Reserve released its highly awaited stress tests on the biggest and most dangerous banks in America. The stress test results fill an 83-page document with dozens of charts showing what would happen to the banks under a hypothetical “severely adverse scenario.” This scenario, unfortunately, was previously prepared and pales in comparison to the actual economic damage rendered by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the severely adverse scenario for this year’s stress tests imagined the U.S. unemployment rate climbing to a peak of 10 percent in the third quarter of 2021. The unemployment rate is currently 13.3 percent. But far more frightening, the Fed’s severely adverse scenario for GDP imagined a decline of “8½ percent from its pre-recession peak, reaching a trough in the third quarter of 2021.” As of yesterday, June 25, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate … Continue reading

Bloomberg Drops a Bombshell on the Fed’s Big Bank Stress Tests Set for Release Today

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 25, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve will release the results of its stress tests on the biggest and most dangerous banks at 4:30 p.m. today. But the potential results of those tests played a negative role in the stock market’s performance yesterday. The Dow’s drop of 710 points yesterday can be ascribed to two things: the alarming news reports that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the second and third most populous states in the U.S. – Texas and Florida; and a bombshell report from Bloomberg News released at 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning. The Bloomberg article, by Lisa Lee and Shahien Nasiripour, cast the Federal Reserve in an unfavorable light over its failure to halt dividend payments at the biggest Wall Street banks, something that European bank regulators have done during the pandemic crisis. Eight of the largest U.S. banks announced in unison on Sunday, … Continue reading

Fed’s Stress Tests on Banks Should Have Factored in a Pandemic

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 26, 2020 ~ Each year the Federal Reserve comes up with a hypothetical, severely adverse economic scenario against which it evaluates the ability of Wall Street’s mega banks to weather the storm. Called “stress tests,” this year’s severely adverse scenario features a severe global recession, unemployment of 10 percent, elevated stress in corporate debt markets and commercial real estate, along with a bank’s major counterparty defaulting if it has significant derivatives trading exposures. The stress test results are typically disclosed in June by the Fed with an immediate announcement by the banks (that get the green light from the Fed) about how many billions of dollars they plan to spend on stock buybacks and dividend increases to artificially boost their share prices. What the Federal Reserve has not planned for in its stress test is a global recession (which was looking entirely likely … Continue reading

Fed’s Stress Test: Should JPMorgan Chase Have Gotten a Second Chance?

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 28, 2019 ~ How many second chances should a criminal recidivist get? JPMorgan Chase has logged in guilty pleas to three criminal felony counts in the past five years; it has a criminally-charged precious metals trader singing to the Feds currently as JPMorgan admits in regulatory filings that it’s under a new criminal investigation in that matter; the bank has paid $36 billion in fines for wrongdoing since the financial crash, including $1 billion for trading exotic derivatives in London with bank depositors’ money and losing at least $6.2 billion of those depositor funds (the London Whale scandal). And in just the past year it has proven that it’s “game on” for more regulatory fines and illicit profits. (See Could JPMorgan Chase Be Hit with a Fourth Felony Count for Rigging Precious Metals Markets?) Despite all of this, yesterday the Federal Reserve announced … Continue reading

The Fed’s Fancy Footwork on Stress Tests Was About Silencing Bank Examiners

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Outside the New York Fed, September 17, 2012

By Pam Martens: March 12, 2019 ~ Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors rushed through a rule change to its stress test for the too-big-to-fail banks on Wall Street, putting it into immediate effect without the customary 30-day delay. It is further noteworthy that the Board did not get the customary unanimous vote to move forward with the rule change: Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, arguably the smartest member of the Board, voted against the rule change while the four other Governors, including Chairman Jerome Powell, voted in favor. There is a strong case that can be made that the rushed rule change was to protect the biggest banks on Wall Street – the ones serially charged with crimes around the globe – while putting the public at risk of another epic financial collapse. What the rule change effectively did was to tell the recidivist banks that their … Continue reading

These Charts Show the Fed’s Stress Tests as a Dangerous Illusion

  By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 7, 2017 Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. The charts above show how four of the largest Wall Street banks traded like clones of one another yesterday. Their share prices rallied at almost identical times and the rallies faded at almost identical times. The chart contrasting the trading pattern of JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley is particularly interesting. JPMorgan’s Chase bank has thousands of retail commercial bank branches spread across the United States. Morgan Stanley, on the other hand, has approximately 17,000 retail stockbrokers, now known as financial advisors. What both firms have in common is that they are among the five banks in the country that control a monster pile of derivatives on Wall Street. Ditto for the other two banks illustrated above: Citigroup and Bank of America. According to the most recent data from the Office of … Continue reading