U.S. banking supervisors are using existing authority to raise standards for capital, liquidity and risk management without waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to hammer out a new regulatory structure.
Agencies led by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this year are set to propose rule revisions that would increase the amount of capital large banks must set aside against the risk of trading losses, according to government officials. The revisions would follow recommendations of the Basel Committee, the global coordinator for banking regulations based in Switzerland.
U.S. regulators are also proposing stronger guidelines on liquidity risk and this month told banks to improve strategies to guard against the possibility of an abrupt increase in interest rates. The renewed scrutiny comes as firms that received taxpayer support, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., report earnings swelled by gains from securities trading.
“You have got more intensive, more intrusive and more forceful supervision,” said Richard Spillenkothen, a former director of the Fed Board’s Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation and now a Washington-based director at Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Regulators believe going into this crisis in 2007 that capital positions were too low and the liquidity cushions were not sufficiently robust.”
Just think what would have happened if they had done this a few years ago ...