Fed: Banks have capital to withstand a depression

The Federal Reserve building is shown in Washington.
Stress free: All 31 banks clear required capital levels   

The Federal Reserve has given favorable marks to the 31 banks that underwent its annual stress tests, marking the first time every bank has met the minimum capital levels since the test was introduced in 2009.

The annual tests subject banks' balance sheets to rigorous hypothetical economic scenarios to determine whether they could absorb losses using their own capital instead of taxpayer money. A sampling of the "severely adverse" scenarios included unemployment at 10 percent, a 25 percent decline in housing prices and a 60 percent drop in equity prices.

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"Higher capital levels at large banks increase the resiliency of our financial system," Federal Reserve Governor Daniel K. Tarullo said. "Our supervisory stress tests are designed to ensure that these banks have enough capital that they could continue to lend to American businesses and households even in a severe economic downturn."

The Fed will announce next week whether it will approve the banks' plans to issue dividends or repurchase shares.

The banks tested included JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo and Co.—the four biggest U.S. banks by assets.


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—Associated Press contributed to this article.