Further losses expected from commercial real estate will continue to pressure the US banking system, the International Monetary Fund has said in its first detailed assessment of the US economy. Delinquent commercial real estate loans in the US are rising, and currently estimated at $60.45bn, or 7.87 per cent.
The Dodd-Frank Act was “an important step forward to address the weaknesses exposed by the global financial crisis,” said the report, issued under the Financial Sector Assessment Program. But stress tests carried out by the IMF noted that “the system would likely remain under pressure due to expected further losses in the commercial real estate sector. And in a scenario in which growth dropped and unemployment remained high, a significant number of U.S. bank holding companies—especially small and medium-sized and regional banks—would need additional capital.”
The Federal Reserve rarely comments on the passage of a single piece of legislation. But this time, Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman, could not resist.
After winning all of the biggest battles in the fight over financial regulatory reform – cementing the Fed’s power while safeguarding its independence – Mr Bernanke put out a statement today praising passage of the bill in the Senate, calling it a “welcome and far-reaching step toward preventing a replay of the financial crisis.” President Barack Obama’s signature on the legislation is expected in the coming days.
We’re in the last throes of the battle over financial regulatory reform, and Barney Frank, the chief congressional negotiator on the legislation and chairman of the House financial services committee, today suggested a possible compromise on the Federal Reserve – one that would strip the three banker board members of the right to select regional bank presidents, but would safeguard the position of NY Fed president from political appointment.
It still needs to be voted on by the conference of lawmakers charged with reconciling the Senate and House versions of the bill, so nothing is etched in stone. But his proposal merits attention because it could be an elegant way to resolve the remaining differences.
Gone would be the controversial proposal to make the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York a political appointee – which was seen by some critics of the measure as a misguided attempt to politicise the US central bank.
Key points of the bill:
Related reading: full list of key points or the main news article.
Sheila Bair, the chairman of the FDIC, today spoke on regulatory reform. Her comments were nothing surprising or new. She called for the creation of a resolution mechanism for large failing institutions, more sharing of information between regulators, and strengthening consumer protections.
But one interesting statement: