The secret stress tests

By Felix Salmon
April 13, 2009

If a bank passes a meaningless stress test and nobody hears about it, will the Treasury market rally? Or will there just be lots more volatility in bank share prices?

Answers on the back of a postcard please to T. Geithner, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, along with any other unintended consequences of the current making-it-up-as-we-go-along approach to bank regulation.

At the very least, Treasury needs to be much clearer than it has been about exactly when and how the results of these stress tests are going to be made public. And when in doubt, it should release more information more quickly, rather than going the standard Washington route of keeping stuff secret. Because these results are so important, and known to so many people, that they will leak if they’re not released soon.

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