The Fed Claims the Banking System is “Sound and Resilient.” The Banks’ Balance Sheets Say Otherwise.

by Doug French

The wordsmiths at the Federal Reserve wisely omitted the line about a “sound and resilient” banking system in its statement on January 31. That same day shares of New York Community Bank plunged when the bank announced a loss of thirty-six cents per share when analysts expected earnings of twenty-seven cents a share for the fourth quarter.

Internal or external auditors occasionally comb through individual loans in a bank’s portfolio and make judgments as to whether those loans are worth what the bank says they are worth due to lower appraised values and other issues either particular to an individual property or the market as a whole. Bankers then, begrudgingly, set aside earnings for potential loan losses.

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