The Fed regularly conducts stress tests on the most important banks that trade in the USA

June 28, 2018 – BBC

Deutsche Bank’s US division has failed the second round of the Federal Reserve’s annual two-stage stress tests, designed to assess how well the sector could withstand another financial crisis.

The German lender suffered from “widespread and critical deficiencies” in parts of its business, the Fed said.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were only granted “conditional” passes.

But 31 of the 35 banks tested were given the all-clear.

Stress tests were introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and every year America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, puts the country’s banks, including foreign subsidiaries operating in the country, through their paces.

The Fed measures whether banks are holding sufficient capital to cope with a recession and in the second part of the process it focuses on banks’ “capital plans” such as how much cash they intend to return to shareholders. However this is the first year that the results of the US units of foreign banks have been publicly released.

All of the 35 largest banks subject to the tests passed the first part of the tests last week.

But the Fed found Deutsche Bank’s US arm had “material weaknesses in the firm’s data capabilities and controls supporting its capital planning process, as well as weaknesses in its approaches and assumptions used to forecast revenues and losses under stress”.

The verdict is another blow for the troubled German lender whose financial health has been under the spotlight recently. And it will require the bank to make changes to the way it operates in the US.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were given passes, but will not be permitted to increase the amount they return to shareholders beyond levels in line with the last couple of years, in order to bolster their capital cushions.

The Fed said it was also granting a conditional pass to Boston-based State Street, which will be required to take additional steps to manage and analyse its exposure to losses.

Last year was the first time all banks passed the second round of the tests.

The second part of the tests is closely watched because it determines how much firms can return to shareholders in the form of items like share buybacks and dividends.