As U.S. regulators prepare for a stress test of big banks, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said on Tuesday these institutions need adequate buffers against severe economic conditions.
As of this date ... all these large banks exceed regulatory standards for being well-capitalized, so for right now they're fine, FDIC chief Sheila Bair said on CBS television's Early Show.
I think the big issue is how much of an additional buffer they have to withstand more adverse economic situations and that's something we're going to try to figure out with a stress test, Bair said.
Asked if the U.S. government will wind up owning a majority stake in some of these banks, Bair favored maintaining private control.
She said the results of the stress test will be made public, probably by the banks themselves.
I think there will be information about that, yes, after the stress tests are over, Bair said. I think we'll look to the banks to make those announcements ... the taxpayers have a right to transparency.
She echoed statements made by President Barack Obama and others in his administration about the implausibility of a quick fix to the financial crisis.
However, she stressed that her agency, which insures consumer deposits at most U.S. banks, has a strong reputation.
We have a strong record of insuring deposits, nobody has ever lost a penny of insured deposits, Bair said. And in fact on Main Street, depositors are maintaining their faith by keeping their deposits in banks and that perhaps more than anything is important and crucial to keeping the banks having the funding they need to continue lending and support the economy.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)