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U.S. bank regulators say four banks’ ‘living wills’ have shortcomings

United States banking regulators said that “living wills” submitted by eight large U.S. banks are satisfactory, but half of those plans have “shortcomings” that should be addressed in the future.

The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found shortcomings in plans from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, detailing how they could be safely taken apart should they face bankruptcy.

Regulators found no problems with plans submitted by Bank of New York Mellon , Citigroup,  J.P. Morgan Chase, or State Street.

The resolution plans, commonly known as living wills, require large banks to detail for regulators how they could be unwound in cases of bankruptcy with minimal disruption to the financial system.

If banks cannot gain regulatory approval for their plans, they could face more severe restrictions or even be ordered to divest.

Tuesday’s results serve as a relatively clean bill of health for the nation’s largest and most complex institutions.

It marks the first time since 2014 that neither the Fed nor the FDIC found significant issues with those plans that merit immediate action by banks.

The regulators said the 2017 results show “significant progress” had been made in the banking sector in recent years.

Of the banks facing shortcomings in their plans, there was no unifying concern.

For example, regulators said Goldman needed to address an issue related to the bank’s “separability analysis related to the actionability of divestiture options,” while Bank of America was told it should take a second look at its derivatives portfolio.

Regulators said four areas where all banks needed to refine their focus in the years ahead included intra-group liquidity, internal loss-absorbing capacity, derivatives, and payment, clearing and settlement activities.

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