Easy Street

Nine Biggest Banks Publish Their ‘Living Wills’

Marketplace Contributor Jul 3, 2012

Today, July 3, is the deadline for the nine biggest banks working in the U.S. to publish their “living wills” – a handy guide to their financial position and what their plan is to sell off or refinance their businesses if there’s another major financial crisis.

The living wills are part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act; they’re designed to help us break up and wind down banks if they fail in another financial crisis, without spending taxpayer money on bailouts. (Good luck with that).

Only the nine biggest banks – the ones with more than $50 billion in assets – released their living wills today. Another 114 banks will submit their living wills next year.

Easy Street brings you the link to the living wills, courtesy of the FDIC, here.

Just as an early look, the banks wanted to keep things as vague as possible. (Although we’re sure their legal teams are going to be really mad at us for saying so.)

Bank of America, for instance, used its living will to do some cheerleading about its future goals in a very “dear diary” manner:It wants to “continue to build a fortress balance sheet” (from its current sand-castle balance sheet, we suppose); it wants to “manage efficiency well,” and it wants to “be a good place to work.” All of those are noble goals, but will they help the bank avoid a messy demise in a devastating financial crisis? They will not. Be sure to peruse the other living will as you sit in traffic on the way to the beach.

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