Stress tests = no more self-regulation
It is amazing that Geithner’s proposal to “stress test” banks is making news as new policy. After all, regulators were supposed to be doing this all along. After the last banking crisis in the 1980s banking regulators got the authority to anticipate capital shortfalls as well as operational deficiencies. When problems are identified regulators are supposed to mandate corrective action well before a bank is in real trouble. “Prompt corrective action” (or “PCA”) is the regulatory jargon to describe the regulatory authority that has existed for years but apparently not used recently. Geithner’s announcement that regulators are going to “stress test” banks is a nice politically correct way of saying that enforcement of safety and soundness rules is back in style and self regulation is out.