US Banks Stress Test - SCAP (Supervisory Capital Assessment Program)

On 24 Apr, Fed released the method it used to conduct stress tests of 19 biggest US banks.
press release
PDF file

Have browsed through it, trying to figure out what it means..

Some highlights:
It is called SCAP (Supervisory Capital Assessment Program).

1. SCAP Template
The SCAP template is in Appendix A (of the PDF file).
(Read the PDF file for further breakdown of items)

Few parts:

a. Loan and Security Categories to be included in the Loss Estimates

  • Loans (many different types of loans)
  • Commitments and Contingent Obligation
  • Securities
  • Trading Account

b. Resources to absorb losses

  • Pre-provision Net Revenue
  • Allowance for Loan Losses

c. Post Scenario Tier 1 Capital

2. Scenarios

Year to assess: 2009, 2010
2 scenarios: baseline scenario, more adverse scenario

On page 6, there is a Table 1 to show how they formulate the 2 scenarios.

  • Average baseline scenario for Real GDP and Civilian Unemployment Rate is calculated by using the average of Consensus Forecasts, Blue Chip and Survey of Professional Forecaster.
    Average baseline for House Prices is by using Case-Shiller 10-city Composite Index.
  • "More Adverse" Scenario is mentioned in Page 5 Footnote. (refer to the PDF file)
    It was mentioned in the text, "More Adverse" scenario is not "Worst Case" scenario. It is "conditions that are severe but plausible"

3. Securities in Available-for-Sales (AFS) and Held-to-Maturity (HTM) Portfolios

All those ABS, CMBS, RMBS etc.. are here.
Important ! These are the so called "toxic assets".

How is the new FASB guidance on fair value measurement and impairments (see my previous post) being used ?

  • Baseline scenario: use FASB new guidance (read: not mark-to-market)
  • More adverse scenario: not using FASB new guidance (read: mark-to-market)
Some questions to ponder:

  • Is the "More Adverse" scenario adverse enough compared to reality ? Is the modelling reasonable ? How to ensure accuracy of inputs ?
  • How will the stress test be used ? What happens next if passed ? What happens next if failed ?
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