Journalism in the Public Interest

GMAC, MetLife Among Banks Undergoing Stress Tests

 [Editor’s note: Check out Propublica’s ultimate bailout guide. We’re tracking every taxpayer dollar and every recipient. All searchable – and translated into English.]

Last Wednesday, federal regulators announced that they were beginning the so-called stress tests on the country’s largest banks. One thing that hasn’t been entirely clear: exactly which banks are getting the treatment. Based on the criteria announced by the Treasury Department and publicly available data, we’ve compiled a list of those 19 banks below.

Some, like GMAC and American Express, weren’t banks until a few months ago, when they converted to bank holding companies in order to be eligible for Treasury Department programs. All but one, the insurance company MetLife, which qualifies because it’s a bank holding company, have already received billions from the Treasury. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said the test will be used to assess how much more (if any) in bailout billions these institutions need.

A GMAC spokeswoman confirmed the company was among those participating in the stress tests, but declined to comment further. A MetLife spokesman declined to comment on the tests and referred questions to the Treasury. Spokespeople from both the Treasury and the Federal Reserve declined to comment.

The Treasury has announced that the tests will be applied to 19 U.S.-based bank organizations with more than $100 billion in total assets. These fit the bill:

Name Total Assets (Billions)
1. JPMorgan Chase2,175
2. Citigroup1,947
3. Bank of America (not including Merrill Lynch)1,822
4. Wells Fargo1,310
5. Goldman Sachs885
6. Morgan Stanley659
7. MetLife502
8. PNC Financial Services291
9. U.S. Bancorp267
10. Bank of New York Mellon238
11. GMAC189
12. SunTrust189
13. State Street177
14. Capital One Financial Corp.166
15. BB&T152
16. Regions Financial Corp.146
17. American Express126
18. Fifth Third Bancorp120
19. KeyCorp105


The assessments, directed by regulators but performed by the banks themselves, will analyze how a bank would fare under a grim economic scenario (some argue not grim enough) in the next couple of years. 

Based on those tests, the Treasury will force the bank to raise a specified amount of money – between 1 percent and 2 percent of the company’s risk-weighted assets, though in special cases the Treasury could decide more is needed. If the money can’t be raised privately, the Treasury will provide it. For the biggest banks, like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, 1 percent of risk-weighted assets amounts to about $13 billion. If the Treasury decided each institution required the maximum, more than $140 billion would be needed, most of that likely coming from public coffers. The investments will made as preferred shares convertible to common shares.

GMAC, the financial arm of General Motors that also has insurance and mortgage divisions, converted to a bank holding company in December. Then, as part of the bailout of GM and Chrysler, the Treasury invested $5 billion in GMAC. It’s unclear exactly how much more GMAC could get after the stress tests since the company does not publicly disclose its risk-weighted assets, but the extra bailout dough would most likely range from $1 billion to $3 billion.

A number of insurance companies have sought to convert to bank holding companies to get a piece of the bailout, but MetLife, which has been a bank holding company for years, apparently hasn’t applied for aid. As of yet, no insurance companies have been approved.

audrey fisher

March 5, 2009, 8:11 a.m.


It is interesting that GMAC converted to a “bank holding company” for TARP money, like so many others…but the criteria for deciding which of these entities should receive funds from Treasurey (Paulsen et al)was always murky.

If GMAC fails to pass this stress test, doesn’t that tell us that the criteria for giving them this money in the first place was flawed?

What idiot could miss the conflict of interest when allowing investment firms, banks and insurances to conglomerate?Who actually thought the Corp world had the impulse control or business ethics to NOT intermix these entities? No One! Greenspan and the other ‘Economic Gurus’ knew exactly what they were doing and they conned the Politicians who’s pockets they’ve lined for decades.
Trickle Down was not ‘flawed Logic’ and neither was this.It’s economic treason. This industry did not work in isolation to pull this off, it required legislation and an intentional lack of oversight and acoountability. The Financial sector, their poitical puppets and the regulatory agencies are nothing more than a Organized Crime Syndicate.They’ve made the Mafia’s Racketeering look like childs play. In fact This group hasn’t got the business sense to be called the Mafia- more like a Street Gang.No Long range vision of sustainablity, just short term gains.
Prosecute from top to bottom those involved over the last 30 yrs for Economic treason to RICO laws.

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