Federal Reserve Board releases results of annual bank stress test, which demonstrates that large banks are well positioned to weather a severe recession

WASHINGTON D.C., June 28 – The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday released the results of its annual bank stress test, which demonstrates that large banks are well positioned to weather a severe recession and continue to lend to households and businesses even during a severe recession.

“Today’s results confirm that the banking system remains strong and resilient,” Vice Chair for Supervision Michael S. Barr said. “At the same time, this stress test is only one way to measure that strength. We should remain humble about how risks can arise and continue our work to ensure that banks are resilient to a range of economic scenarios, market shocks, and other stresses.”

The Board’s stress test is one tool to help ensure that large banks can support the economy during economic downturns. The test evaluates the resilience of large banks by estimating their capital levels, losses, revenue and expenses under a single hypothetical recession and financial market shock, using banks’ data as of the end of last year.

All 23 banks tested remained above their minimum capital requirements during the hypothetical recession, despite total projected losses of $541 billion. Under stress, the aggregate common equity risk-based capital ratio—which provides a cushion against losses—is projected to decline by 2.3 percentage points to a minimum of 10.1 percent.

This year’s stress test includes a severe global recession with a 40 percent decline in commercial real estate prices, a substantial increase in office vacancies, and a 38 percent decline in house prices. The unemployment rate rises by 6.4 percentage points to a peak of 10 percent and economic output declines commensurately.

The test’s focus on commercial real estate shows that while large banks would experience heavy losses in the hypothetical scenario, they would still be able to continue lending. The banks in this year’s test hold roughly 20 percent of the office and downtown commercial real estate loans held by banks. The large projected decline in commercial real estate prices, combined with the substantial increase in office vacancies, contributes to projected loss rates on office properties that are roughly triple the levels reached during the 2008 financial crisis.

The $541 billion in total projected losses includes over $100 billion in losses from commercial real estate and residential mortgages, and $120 billion in credit card losses, both higher than the losses projected in last year’s test. The aggregate 2.3 percentage point decline in capital is slightly less than the 2.7 percentage point decline from last year’s test but is comparable to declines projected from the stress test in recent years. The disclosure document includes additional information about losses, including firm-specific results and figures.

For the first time, the Board conducted an exploratory market shock on the trading books of the largest banks, testing them against greater inflationary pressures and rising interest rates. This exploratory market shock will not contribute to banks’ capital requirements but was used to further understand the risks with their trading activities and to assess the potential for testing banks against multiple scenarios in the future. The results showed that the largest banks’ trading books were resilient to the rising rate environment tested.

The individual results from the stress test factor directly into a bank’s capital requirements, mandating each bank to hold enough capital to survive a severe recession and financial market shock. If a bank does not stay above its capital requirements, it is subject to automatic restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonus payments.

Martin J. Gruenberg Sworn in as 22nd FDIC Chairman

WASHINGTON – Martin J. Gruenberg was sworn in today as the 22nd Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Travis Hill, who will serve as Vice Chairman, and Jonathan McKernan, who will serve as Director, were also sworn in as members of the FDIC’s Board of Directors (the Board).

“I am honored to serve again as Chairman of the FDIC,” said Chairman Gruenberg. “I look forward to working closely with my fellow Board members to carry out the FDIC’s critically important mission of safety and soundness, consumer protection, and financial stability.”

Vice Chairman Hill said, “It is a tremendous honor to have been appointed to serve as an FDIC Board member. I look forward to engaging with my fellow Board members, the FDIC staff, and counterparts at other agencies regarding the many important issues facing the FDIC.”

Director McKernan added, “The FDIC’s mission resonates deeply with me, as the stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system is critical to a strong and growing American economy. I am eager to work with my colleagues on the Board and the FDIC staff to do my part to fulfill the agency’s vital mission.”

Chairman Gruenberg is the longest serving member of the Board, first joining as Vice Chairman in August of 2005. He previously served as FDIC Chairman from November 2012 to June 2018. Learn more about the Chairmen of the FDIC.

Prior to his appointment, Vice Chairman Hill served as Senior Advisor to the FDIC Chairman and Deputy to the FDIC Chairman for Policy from July 2018 until February 2022, and, prior to that, as Senior Counsel at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Director McKernan previously served as Senior Counsel at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, on detail as Counsel on the staff of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and as Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department and to Senator Bob Corker. Prior to his government service, from 2007 to 2017, Director McKernan was an attorney in private practice focused on banking and consumer financial law.

President Biden appointed Chairman Gruenberg for a term of five years as Chairman and a six-year term as a Director on the Board; Vice Chairman Hill for a term of six years; and Director McKernan to serve for an expiring term until May 31, 2024. The Board will now have a full complement of members for the first time since June 4, 2015.

The Board is comprised of five members who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. The chairman, vice chairman and inside director are appointed to six-year terms on the Board. The remaining two Board members are the Comptroller of the Currency and the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. No more than three members of the Board can be from the same political party.

PBGC Announces New Inspector General Appointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced the appointment of Nicholas J. Novak as the agency’s Inspector General. In his 35-year career, Novak spent nearly 20 years holding various positions within PBGC’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring (ONR) and the agency’s Office of the Inspector General. Novak’s ONR portfolio included supervising aspects of the Multiemployer Pension Insurance Program. He most recently served as PBGC’s Acting Inspector General since April 2020.

“I know that Nick shares my commitment to ensuring PBGC and everyone at the agency operate ethically and effectively,” PBGC Director Gordon Hartogensis said. “I look forward to continuing our work together as he takes on the role of Inspector General.”

As Inspector General, Novak will continue to oversee independent audits and investigations, provide guidance to improve the agency’s business practices, and execute procedures to prevent and detect fraud. Novak reports directly to PBGC’s Board of Directors and Congress to help improve and maintain the integrity of PBGC’s programs and operations.

A proven public servant, he previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Publishing Office, and in the private sector.

He is a certified public accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

About PBGC
PBGC protects the retirement security of over 35 million American workers, retirees, and beneficiaries in both single-employer and multiemployer private-sector pension plans. The agency’s two insurance programs are legally separate and operationally and financially independent. PBGC is currently responsible for the benefits of about 1.5 million people in failed pension plans and receives no taxpayer dollars. The Single-Employer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. The Multiemployer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums and investment income. For more information, visit PBGC.gov.

United States Announces Nominee for Presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank Group

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that the United States intends to nominate Mauricio J. Claver-Carone for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB).

“The IDB is at a critical juncture as the region faces growing challenges to economic growth and sustainable development, particularly in light of the global pandemic,” said Secretary Mnuchin.  “The nomination of Mr. Claver-Carone demonstrates President Trump’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in important regional institutions, and to advancing prosperity and security in the Western Hemisphere.  We are confident that his leadership of the IDB will strengthen its ability to deliver development impact to the region.” 

Mr. Claver-Carone currently serves as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council.  During his time at the White House, he spearheaded the whole-of-government Growth in the Americas (‘America Crece’) initiative to support economic development by catalyzing private sector investment in energy and infrastructure projects across Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Mr. Claver-Carone also played an important role in developing the bipartisan Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018, which created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and has facilitated its robust engagement in Latin America. 

In addition to roles in the private sector, Mr. Claver-Carone has previously served as U.S. Representative to the International Monetary Fund, as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as an attorney-advisor with the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College, Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America, and Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University Law Center.

Treasury, IRS Deliver Economic Impact Payments to 130 Million Americans in Record Time

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS today announced that nearly 130 million Americans have received Economic Impact Payments, worth more than $218 billion, in less than five weeks. These totals do not include the more than $2.5 billion delivered to U.S. territories for payment to territory residents.

“This Administration has delivered Economic Impact Payments to Americans in record time,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “More payments are on their way as we continue to deliver this much-needed relief to the American people.”

Treasury expects to deliver more than 150 million Economic Impact Payments in total.

Secretary Mnuchin to Attend G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin will travel to Saudi Arabia to attend the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Riyadh from February 22-23, 2020.

“This trip will focus on advancing the Trump Administration’s economic agenda and working with international partners to address key economic and security issues to strengthen global growth,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “Meetings at the G20 provide an opportunity to continue productive engagement on a range of important issues, including international taxation, debt transparency and sustainability, digital assets, and efforts to combat terrorist financing.”

In Riyadh, Secretary Mnuchin will participate in the official G20 program and meet with his international counterparts, including with leaders from Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Following the G20 meetings, Secretary Mnuchin will visit Abu Dhabi and Doha, where he will participate in bilateral meetings focused specifically on countering the financing of terrorist activities.

NOTE: Details are subject to change. Further information regarding the Secretary’s schedule will be made available in the days ahead. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Public Engagement Schedule.

Upcoming Event: Asian Financial Forum

Asian Financial Forum
January 13-14, 2020
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Participate in Deal Flow Matchmaking Session’s, one-on-one meetings.
  • Meet project owners, private equity firms, investors, high net-worth individuals, and senior professionals from intermediaries and professional service providers.
  • Contact AICC: usa@aiccus.org
  • Contact U.S. Commercial Service: Peter Sexton

Treasury International Capital Data for March

Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for March 2019. The next release, which will report on data for April 2019, is scheduled for June 17, 2019.

The sum total in March of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a net TIC outflow of $8.1 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $13.6 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $21.7 billion.

Foreign residents decreased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in March; net sales were $30.3 billion. Net sales by private foreign investors were $20.6 billion, while net sales by foreign official institutions were $9.7 billion.

U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $1.9 billion.

Taking into account transactions in both foreign and U.S. securities, net foreign sales of long-term securities were $28.4 billion. After including adjustments, such as estimates of unrecorded principal payments to foreigners on U.S. asset-backed securities, overall net foreign sales of long-term securities are estimated to have been $40.6 billion in March.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of U.S. Treasury bills by $23.9 billion. Foreign resident holdings of all dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities and other custody liabilities increased by $69.7 billion.

Banks’ own net dollar-denominated liabilities to foreign residents decreased by $37.2 billion.

Amazon is acquiring home Wi-Fi start-up Eero

CNBC.com reported, Amazon said on Monday that it’s acquiring Eero, a developer of internet routers that can be easily connected in the home. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

It’s Amazon’s latest push into the smart home, following the acquisition of video doorbell maker Ring last year for $1 billion. Amazon’s primary home device is its own Echo smart speaker, powered by Alexa.

In the router market, Google has a competing product called Google Wifi. Apple discontinued AirPort home routers last year, and Cisco sold Linksys to Belkin in 2013. Netgear stock was down as much as 5 percent after hours following the announcement.

Eero, based in San Francisco, was founded in 2014 by Nick Weaver, Amos Schallich and Nate Hardison with the goal of making Wi-Fi simple to use, easy to install and effective across many rooms in a house. In 2015, the start-up sold $2.5 million worth of products in its first two weeks after the company began accepting preorders, CNBC reported earlier.

“We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon devices and services, said in a statement.

A single Eero device costs $199 and covers up to 1,500 square feet. Users can add a so-called beacon for another room for an additional $149 or can buy both combined for $299. The company also sells a security service for $99 a year.

“You have to be able to react quickly to customers, and at the same time, you have to think far enough ahead to think about what the hardware needs to do in the future,” Weaver said in a 2016 interview. A graduate of Stanford University and former venture capitalist, Weaver has been fixing home networking systems since he was 10.

More than 150 people are listed as Eero employees on LinkedIn. The company raised at least $90 million from investors including Index Ventures, Playground Global and Redpoint Ventures. Eero laid off one-fifth of its employees last year, TechCrunch reported.

Amazon previously dabbled in the Wi-Fi market as an investor. In 2016, the company backed a start-up called Luma as part of a $12.5 million round. Luma, which also raised money from GV (formerly Google Ventures), was acquired last year by First Alert, a unit of Newell Brands.

MBDA Awards Nearly $2 Million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON (December 3, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is announcing grant awards of nearly $2 million to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In June 2018, MBDA invited HBCUs to propose projects that will achieve one or more of the following objectives: increase their ability to compete for and receive Federal research and development funds; establish partnerships with Federal laboratories and other technology resources; increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entrepreneurship; and compete for Federal contracts.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities served as the catalyst to creating the black middle class in America and will continue to be the incubator for minority business talent, innovation, and leadership. These important schools generate billions in economic impact annually and are engines for job creation in their local economies across the United States,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs II. “These grant awards will provide seed money for these institutions to pursue innovative projects and to build more revenue-generating infrastructures to better serve our nation’s future entrepreneurs and workforce.”

The HBCUs that received grant awards include:

Clark Atlanta University ($499,497) to develop a STEM entrepreneurship curriculum that increases student interest in the innovation economy at three Atlanta University Center Consortium campuses.

Howard University ($359,891) to design a technical support model for 11 HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region to compete for Federal research and development funds and leverage partnerships with Federal laboratories.

South Carolina State University ($404,992) to launch regional training sessions for HBCUs to compete for Federal research and development funds.

Tougaloo College ($695,412) to establish a partnership among multiple HBCUs, private companies, federal labs, and research institutions to increase capacity for HBCUs to participate in federal research and contracting opportunities.

These programs are part of the 2018 MBDA Broad Agency Announcement, a new initiative this year. More than $13 million was awarded for 35 projects focused on Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities from resources that increase disaster preparedness and relief to programs that increase access to capital. For a full listing of MBDA’s 2018 grant awards, visit http://www.mbda.gov/news.