Panel pushes for new bank stress tests

June 9, 2009 at 9:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- The stress tests conducted on the largest U.S. banks should be repeated with updated figures, The Congressional Oversight Panel said.

The committee headed by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, which oversees the $700 billion financial bailout package passed in October, said the stress tests ordered by the U.S. Treasury, evaluated banks' health against the possibility of unemployment rising to 8.9 percent. In May, the Department of Labor said unemployment exceeded that, rising to 9.4 percent, calling the results into question, a report to be released Tuesday said.

The panel said the stress tests were helpful, but lacked transparency on how they were conducted, The Washington Post reported.

"Without this information, it is not possible for anyone to replicate the tests to determine how robust they are or to vary the assumptions to see whether different projections might yield very different results," the panel said in the report.

Based on the tests results, the Treasury recommended the nation's 19 largest banks raise an additional $75 billion to cushion themselves against further economic deterioration.

However, the tests "may fail to capture substantial risks further out on the horizon," the panel said.

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