It remains to be seen whether bank managers will be given a free pass from analysts, whose return-on-equity targets face the growing likelihood of going unmet, or from regulators, whose stress tests may have been eclipsed earlier this year by the realities big banks faced (successfully) in Europe and the U.K.
"There's all sorts of ways they can back off the banks," Dick Bove, equity research analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets, said of regulators.
Allowing banks to free up more capital for things like home loans would be a boost for banks, and for the U.S. economy, he added. Many market watchers have expressed concern that big banks are being regulated into utilities — that is to say, saddled with enough requirements and boxes to check that they would face low margins in virtually any economy.
But regulators, for now, look determined to head in the opposite direction, which would create additional pressure on Wall Street.
It isn't clear how the Federal Reserve will approach stress testing for Wall Street banks in 2017; it already integrated negative interest rates into banks' capital plans and, based on financial services' firms responses to the Brexit vote and the expectations of ongoing fallout, it seems many have already set up effective stop-gaps to stave off crisis. At the same time, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, who oversees the banking system as chairman of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, said he wants to make stress tests stricter by 2018.