Fed Finalizes Rule Simplifying Stress Testing Process for Regional Banks

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 in Banking, Federal Issues By BuckleySandler

On January 30, the Fed issued a finalized version of its rule aimed at simplifying the Fed’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR or “stress test”) by exempting all but the largest financial institutions from the qualitative assessment portion of the Fed’s stress test. The changes will apply to the 2017 CCAR cycle, which began on January 1, 2017.

Specifically, the new rule provides that “large and noncomplex firms”—those with total consolidated assets of at least $50 billion but less than $250 billion, and nonbank assets of less than $75 billion (and that are not U.S. global-systemically important banks)—will no longer be subject to the provisions allowing the Fed to object to a bank’s capital adequacy plan based on an evaluation of hypothetical scenarios of severe economic and financial market stress, known as a “qualitative assessment.” Previously, the Board could object to the annual capital plan of any bank subject to stress testing, based on the quantitative or qualitative findings of the exercise. However, the rule also decreases the amount of additional capital exempted banks can distribute to shareholders in connection with a capital plan without seeking prior approval from the Fed, now 0.25 percent of tier 1 capital down from 1 percent.

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