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Inside Washington (03/12/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (3/13/12)--The Federal Reserve on Thursday will release the results of if its latest stress tests for the 19 largest banks, including many financial institutions that were at the heart of the financial crisis. The tests evaluate whether firms would have sufficient capital in times of severe economic and financial stress to continue to lend to households and businesses. The Federal Reserve estimated revenue and losses under the stress scenario based on detailed data provided by the firms and verified by supervisors. The supervisory stress scenario depicts a severe recession in the U.S., including a peak unemployment rate of 13%, a 50% drop in equity prices, and a 21% decline in housing prices. The supervisory stress scenario is not the Federal Reserve's forecast for the economy, but was designed to represent an outcome that, while unlikely, may occur if the U.S economy were to experience a deep recession at the same time that economic activity in other major economies contracted significantly. Strong capital levels are critical to ensuring that banking organizations have the ability to lend and to continue to meet their financial obligations, even in times of economic difficulty. U.S. firms have built up their capital levels under the Federal Reserve's leadership since government stress tests were conducted in early 2009. The 19 banks that participated in those tests have increased their common capital levels to $759 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 from $420 billion in the first quarter of 2009. The tier 1 common ratio for these firms, which compares high-quality capital to risk-weighted assets, has increased to a weighted average of 10.4% from 5.4% …
  • WASHINGTON (3/13/12)--William S. Haraf, commissioner of the California Department of Financial Institutions announced his resignation Monday, which will be effective Friday. Haraf joined the California Department of Financial Institutions in 2008 after a long career in commercial and investment banking, the investment branch of federal government, and academia. In his capacity as the state commissioner of financial institutions, Haraf serves as the sole state bank regulator representative on the Financial Stability Oversight Council established by the Dodd-Frank Act. He also is chairman-elect of the board of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors …
  • WASHINGTON (3/13/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Burea (CFPB) has added auto loans and installment loans, which are typically taken out for appliances and other more expensive items, to the list of financial products it accepts public complaints on. The CFPB will forward complaints to the institutions providing the loan. While the CFPB will resolve issues involving large financial institutions, it said it would forward complaints tied to smaller institutions to their prudential regulators.


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