For the third time in as many years, all 34 of the country's biggest banks met the minimum capital standards on first half of annual Federal Reserve stress tests designed to safeguard the U.S. from another financial crisis.
The reviews gauge whether lenders with more than $50 billion in assets could withstand a hypothetical "severe global recession" in which the unemployment rate peaks at 10% by the third quarter of 2018 while equity prices fall by 50% through the end of this year.
Overall, the results showed that the banking sector is well capitalized, with the vast majority of firms maintaining significant capital buffers in the scenario. However, a few institutions came close to a minimum level that will be considered in a second more important set of tests coming next week, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) , Morgan Stanley (MS) and State Street Corp. (STT)
This year's test is considered by big banks to be one of the most severe in recent years. The Fed said the banks would have experienced $383 billion in loan losses under its toughest scenario, and the largest banks maintained slightly more capital in the evaluation than smaller ones. In addition, there were fewer loan losses this year than in 2016, reflecting better underwriting standards and a runoff of crisis-era loans.