5 Big Banks Get Failing Grades on 'Living Wills'

They need to retool emergency plans quickly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2016 9:51 AM CDT
5 Big Banks Get Failing Grades on 'Living Wills'
Customers use Wells Fargo ATM machines in Santa Clara, Calif.   (Paul Sakuma)

Federal regulators say five of the biggest banks in the US haven't worked out strong plans for how they might reshape themselves in case of failure, which could leave them unable to survive without another taxpayer bailout, reports the AP. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon, and State Street Bank were cited Wednesday by the Federal Reserve and the FDIC for gaps in their bankruptcy plans known as "living wills" that they were required to submit. The five banks—with a total of about $5.6 trillion in assets—were among eight Wall Street behemoths whose plans were evaluated. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citibank fared better in the evaluations, though all had lesser problems that also must be addressed.

The agencies found that the five banks' plans are "not credible" or insufficient for an orderly restructuring in the event of bankruptcy. The regulators gave the banks an Oct. 1 deadline to fix the problems or face possible "more stringent" requirements. That could include ordering the banks to beef up their capital cushions against unforeseen losses. If the regulators still weren't satisfied, banks eventually could be forced to sell off assets. The "living will" assessments are part of the regulators' effort to avoid another taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks in a crisis and to end the marketplace perception that the government would step in and rescue them. (Read more banking industry stories.)

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