Willem Buiter, 03 July 2020

The US Federal Reserve – the world’s most important central bank – is not in a good place. This column outlines three flaws in the operating practices of the Fed – (i) its refusal to adopt negative policy rates, (ii) the build-up of significant credit risks through non-transparent (quasi-)fiscal actions, and (iii) stress testing analysis which fails to account for the severity of the COVID-19 crisis. It proposes a number of ways forward, including a symmetric policy rate around zero, a temporary ban on dividend payments, new equity issuance, and conducting a comprehensive stress test of the financial system.

Ron Anderson, Chikako Baba, Jon Danielsson, Heedon Kang, Udaibir Das, Miguel Segoviano, 15 February 2018

Current stress testing of banks is focused on the resiliency of individual banks to exogenous shocks. This column describes how the next generation of macroprudential stress tests aim to capture the endogenous nature of systemic risk caused by the interaction of all the institutions and markets making up the financial system. This will lead to a better policy mix aimed at preserving financial stability.

Ron Anderson, 09 May 2016

Since the onset of the Global Crisis in 2007-08, stress testing has emerged as a major component of the supervisory toolkit. This column introduces a new CEPR Press eBook that presents the perspectives of policymakers, stress test designers and academics on the remarkable development of a tool which ten years ago was little known.


Stress testing has been a successful crisis response tool to provide insight into bank capitalisation. As countries emerge from the financial crisis, stress testing is becoming part of banks’ own risk management as well as part of the toolkit of bank supervisors. This course will cover the history, the main policy issues and the tools needed to address them. We will draw from the European and the US, from private and public sector experience.

Viral Acharya, Robert Engle, Diane Pierret, 14 March 2014

Macroprudential stress tests have been employed by regulators in the US and Europe to assess the solvency condition of financial firms in adverse macroeconomic scenarios. The capital required by regulators in such adverse scenarios is strongly dependent on Basel capital standards. This column argues that macro stress tests would be more effective if capital requirements were measured differently from the current regulatory risk weight-based approach, and in particular, were based on total assets and on market risks.

Viral Acharya, 14 March 2014

Viral Acharya talks to Viv Davies about his recent work with Sascha Steffen that, using publicly available data and a series of shortfall measures, estimates the capital shortfalls of EZ banks that will be stress-tested under the proposed Asset Quality Review. They also discuss the difference in accounting rules between US and EZ banks and the future potential for banking union in the Eurozone. The interview was recorded by phone on 25 February 2014.

Viral Acharya, Sascha Steffen, 17 January 2014

The Single Supervisory Mechanism – a key pillar of the Eurozone banking union – will transfer supervision of Europe’s largest banks to the ECB. Before taking over this role, the ECB will conduct an Asset Quality Review to identify these banks’ capital shortfalls. This column discusses recent estimates of these shortfalls based on publicly available data. Estimates such as these can defend against political efforts to blunt the AQR’s effectiveness. The results suggest that many banks’ capital needs can be met with common equity issuance and bail-ins, but that public backstops might still be necessary in some cases.


CEPR Policy Research