Psst... Fed Not Actually Going To Make Banks Raise That Stress-Test Capital

US banks have been given government assurances they will be allowed to raise less than the $74.6bn in equity mandated by stress tests if earnings over the next six months outstrip regulators’ forecasts, bankers said.

The agreement, which was not mentioned when the government revealed the results on Thursday, means some banks may not have to raise as much equity through share issues and asset sales as the market is expecting. It could also increase the incentive for banks to book profits in the next two quarters.

The banks have 28 days to announce their capital-raising plans and until November 9 to implement them. Wells Fargo and other banks that will have to raise capital told the Financial Times that if operating profits were greater than the government’s stress-case forecast for the second and third quarter, they would receive credit for the difference. That, in turn, would reduce the need to raise fresh equity from other sources.

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Thank goodness we did away with mark-to-market accounting.  Now the banks can just “earn” all the money they’re supposed to raise!

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