December 17, 2019 / 9:43 PM / a month ago

U.S. banking regulators see shortcomings in 'living wills' for six banks

FILE PHOTO: A cyclist passes the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. banking regulators signed off on Tuesday on “living wills” submitted by eight large U.S. banks, although the regulators said six of those plans had shortcomings that must be addressed.

The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said all the plans show how the banks could be safely dissolved in a crisis. But most of the banks struggled to produce key data, like how much capital and liquidity are held by subsidiaries, under stressed conditions. The issue did not rise to the level that the banks — Bank of America (BAC.N), Bank of New York Mellon (BK.N), Citigroup (C.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N), State Street (STT.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N) — had their plans rejected, but they must tell the agencies how they will fix the issue by the end of March.

The regulators did not identify shortcomings with plans from JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) or Goldman Sachs (GS.N).

Under rules established following the 2007-2009 financial crisis, large banks are regularly required to detail how they could be quickly and safely taken apart in a crisis. These resolution plans, commonly known as “living wills,” are assessed by regulators to see if they are feasible.

If banks cannot get regulators to sign off on their plans, they could face additional restrictions on their business activities or even be ordered to divest.

Banks originally had to submit the plans annually, but regulators decided in October to ease that requirement after banks argued it was too onerous and regulators could not assess the complex documents on such a schedule. Now, large U.S. banks can submit simpler plans every two years, and a full resolution plan every four years.

The last time large U.S. banks had such plans tested, regulators identified shortcomings with four of the banks’ plans. They announced Tuesday that those shortcomings, from plans submitted by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, had been addressed.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Leslie Adler

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