Stress Test Results ‘Better than Feared,’ But Do Not Improve Apt. Financing Situation

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–The government’s recent “stress tests” of the nation’s 19 largest banks showed that 10 banks — including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. —need to raise a total of $75 billion in new capital to absorb potential losses if the recession were to take a turn for the worst.The remaining nine—JPMorgan Chase & Co. and brokerage house Goldman Sachs Group Inc. among them—have enough capital to withstand a deeper recession.According to the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, John Dugan, the tests help boost morale in the market. Tobey Price Hubbard, principal of Blackstar Capital Partners, agrees. “Our view is the bank stress tests equate to more of a ‘good housekeeping seal of approval’ for the overall capital markets than anything else. The results seem to have come back better than feared, and the market has responded to this perceived transparency favorably. Therefore if the goal of these tests was to boost confidence in the banks and capital markets, both vitally important, then I would consider them a success.” “However, outside of this general thumbs up, the results are only valuable to the degree that the actual stress incurred is equal to or less than the worst case assumptions utilized in the testing. Time will tell but in theory if this confidence builder should have a positive impact on the multifamily market,” Hubbard tells MHN.But Brian Gordon, vice president of development at Magellan Development, doesn’t believe the stress test results have done any good to the financing situation in the multifamily sector. “It couldn’t get any worse, but this certainly hasn’t helped the situation. There is no new development going on right now anyway,” he tells MHN. Bank of America is a big lender to Magellan and it has fallen short of capital, so Gordon doesn’t see any positive impact of the test results.