Monday, February 23, 2009

Treasury: Major U.S. banking institutions "Well capitalized"

by Calculated Risk on 2/23/2009 09:03:00 AM

Here is a joint statement by the Treasury, FDIC, OCC, OTS and the Federal Reserve:

The U.S. government stands firmly behind the banking system during this period of financial strain to ensure it will be able to perform its key function of providing credit to households and businesses. ... we reiterate our determination to preserve the viability of systemically important financial institutions so that they are able to meet their commitments.

"We announced on February 10, 2009, a Capital Assistance Program to ensure that our banking institutions are appropriately capitalized, with high-quality capital. Under this program, which will be initiated on February 25, the capital needs of the major U.S. banking institutions will be evaluated under a more challenging economic environment. Should that assessment indicate that an additional capital buffer is warranted, institutions will have an opportunity to turn first to private sources of capital. Otherwise, the temporary capital buffer will be made available from the government. This additional capital does not imply a new capital standard and it is not expected to be maintained on an ongoing basis. ...

"Currently, the major U.S. banking institutions have capital in excess of the amounts required to be considered well capitalized. ... Because our economy functions better when financial institutions are well managed in the private sector, the strong presumption of the Capital Assistance Program is that banks should remain in private hands."
I'm reminded of this statement from last year:
"Both [Fannie and Freddie] are adequately capitalized, which is our highest criteria."
James Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise on CNBC July 8, 2008
Of course both Fannie and Freddie were put into conservatorship (edit) in September.