OCC, FDIC, and Fed Release Stress Test Scenarios for 2017

On February 3, the Fed announced the release of the “Supervisory Scenarios” to be used by banks and supervisors for the 2017 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) and Dodd-Frank Act stress test exercises and also issued instructions to firms participating in CCAR. The Fed also published three letters that provide additional information on its stress-testing program. The three letters describe: (i) the Horizontal Capital Review for large, noncomplex companies; (ii) the CCAR qualitative assessment for U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banks, which are submitting capital plans for the first time; and (iii) improvements to how the Fed will estimate post-stress capital ratios.

On February 3, the OCC similarly released economic and financial market scenarios for 2017 that are to be used by national banks and federal savings associations (with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion) in their annual Dodd-Frank Act-mandated stress test. On February 6, the FDIC released its stress test scenarios, working in consultation with the Fed and OCC.

The three sets of supervisory scenarios provide each agency with forward-looking information for use in bank supervision and will assist the agencies in assessing the covered institutions’ risk profile and capital adequacy.

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Fed Finalizes Rule Simplifying Stress Testing Process for Regional Banks

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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