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American Central Bank’s Stress Tests Show Largest Banks Prepared for Severe Recession

The U.S. central bank has announced that all 23 of the country’s largest banks would be able to withstand a severe recession based on its recent “stress tests.” While the report revealed some weaknesses among midsize and regional banks, the stress tests focused primarily on the largest lenders. The results come in the wake of earlier banking crises, prompting policymakers to consider tougher stress testing in the future.

Robustness of Largest Banks Amidst Weaknesses in Midsize Institutions :

The Federal Reserve’s stress tests, conducted annually since the 2008 financial crisis, evaluate the ability of banks to withstand severe economic downturns. The tests simulate scenarios involving skyrocketing unemployment rates and significant contractions in economic activity. This year’s test simulated a severe global recession, resulting in substantial commercial and home property price declines. The 23 largest banks exhibited potential collective losses of $541 billion, meeting the required stressed capital ratio of at least 4.5% set by the Fed.

Challenges for Midsize and Regional Banks :

While the stress tests focused on the largest banks, the report indicated relative weakness among midsize and regional institutions. This highlights the importance of ongoing efforts to ensure resilience across the banking sector. Fed Vice Chair for Supervision, Michael Barr, stressed the need for vigilance and the continuous strengthening of banks’ ability to navigate various economic scenarios and market shocks.

Addressing Banking System Challenges:

Earlier this year, the American banking system faced challenges, including high-profile collapses and banks on precarious ground. To support smaller banks, the Federal Reserve established the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) in March. The program has already allocated over $100 billion to prop up struggling small and mid-sized banks, reinforcing their stability and preventing potential systemic risks.

The Federal Reserve’s stress tests affirm the preparedness of the 23 largest U.S. banks to withstand a severe recession. While weaknesses persist among midsize and regional institutions, the stress testing process is a crucial mechanism to enhance the overall banking system’s resilience and mitigate potential future risks.


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