FDIC-regulated big mortgage banks undergoing stress tests, Duke says
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Thrift Supervision, are conducting a second round of stress tests on banks that control the majority of outstanding mortgages and will have conclusive reviews by early next year, according to Elizabeth Duke, a governor on the Federal Reserve Board. She provided written testimony Wednesday to the House Committee on Financial Services, which is scheduled to hear public testimony from key members of the housing finance industry on Thursday. Duke said interagency examinations will provide a basis for regulators to develop a plan for remedial action. By looking at each firm's policies, procedures and internal control related to foreclosure practices, the FDIC will determine how best to enforce policies that will "ensure that actions taken with respect to borrowers and their homes are valid and in accordance with the law," she said. The 19 largest bank holding companies went through a round of stress tests in early 2009 to determine how "healthy" they were with regard to capital liquidity and risk. The results from the tests were split. Ten of the 19 banks failed, and nine passed. The FDIC determined the banks would need an additional $185 billion buffer to survive the most adverse scenario. In addition to the regular stress test, Duke said this time around the Fed issued self-assessment questionnaires to all regulated banks that offer mortgage servicing. The responses to the survey will also be considered in the test results. Write to Christine Ricciardi.