Results of the government’s "stress tests" of the ability of 19 banks that hold more than half of U.S. loans to sustain losses through 2010 won’t be made public until the week of May 4, but Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America are reportedly among those that may need to raise more capital.
Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that preliminary findings of the tests indicate Bank of America may need billions in capital — a finding Bank of America is expected to appeal as early as Tuesday.
Regulators are also in discussions with Citigroup, which may be able to raise any capital it needs by reworking or expanding a planned exchange of preferred shares for common stock, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
The Federal Reserve published some details on how the stress tests were conducted Friday, giving analysts an opportunity to run numbers for themselves and determine which banks may have to raise additional money.
Matt O’Connor, a Deutsche Bank analyst who ran the numbers, reportedly thinks 10 U.S. banks — including Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co. — may need to raise additional money, Reuters said.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America have become the biggest mortgage lenders in the country, thanks to Wells Fargo’s purchase of Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp.
Because lenders can count on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae to buy most of the mortgages they make, mortgages have been readily available to borrowers with good credit during the downturn, at rates near historic lows.
Loans that lenders must hold on their books because they are too big or too risky for Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae — including "jumbo loans" — remain costlier and harder to obtain.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are set to begin buying "super-conforming" loans of up to $729,750 on May 4 (see story).
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