Don't sweat the bank stress test results

  • Nine of the 19 banks were told they did not need additional capital.
  • The government says none of these institutions is insolvent.
  • "Not an issue" from consumer point of view.

There were no surprises in the stress test results as data had been leaked for several days ahead of the formal announcement. The government says that 10 of the 19 bank holding companies subjected to the stress tests need to add, in total, approximately $75 billion in capital to withstand a worst-case scenario.

Bank stress test results
Bank holding companyCapital needed
American Express Co.No need
Bank of America Corp.$33.9 billion
BB&T Corp.No need
The Bank of NY Mellon Corp.No need
Capital One Financial Corp.No need
Citigroup Inc.$5.5 billion
Fifth Third Bancorp$1.1 billion
GMAC LLC$11.5 billion
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.No need
JPMorgan Chase & Co.No need
KeyCorp$1.8 billion
MetLife Inc.No need
Morgan Stanley$1.8 billion
PNC Financial Services Group Inc.$0.6 billion
Regions Financial Corp.$2.5 billion
State Street Corp.No need
SunTrust Banks Inc.$2.2 billion
U.S. BancorpNo need
Wells Fargo & Co.$13.7 billion
Source: The Federal Reserve

To sum up, the nation's 19 largest bank holding companies were tested under a couple scenarios to see if they have the financial wherewithal to withstand another two years of potentially significant economic deterioration.

Nine of the 19 -- JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, MetLife, State Street, Bank of New York Mellon, U.S. Bancorp, Capital One Financial, American Express and BB&T -- were told that there is no need for them to raise additional capital.

The 10 remaining institutions must come up with varying amounts ranging from $600 million to $33.9 billion.

Banks that need to raise capital have until June 8 to devise a plan detailing how they will accomplish that task. They then have until Nov. 9 to raise the needed funding. If they can't pony up the required amount, they'll have to visit the government trough.


"We want the government involvement to be temporary and short lived with a clean, quick exit strategy so that these positions -- these firms -- are back operating with a stronger financial foundation, with private capital as quickly as possible. And we're going to make it very clear as they go through this, that the government is going to stand behind the system and make sure they have the ability to meet their commitments," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a May 6 interview on "The Charlie Rose Show."

If your bank is under orders to raise capital, you probably don't need to spend any time worrying about it. The government says none of these institutions is insolvent. There's no need to open accounts in another bank. The caveat, as always, is to keep your deposits within the FDIC insurance limits.

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