U.S. banks all pass capital hurdle in Fed stress test


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By Douwe Miedema

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – All 31 U.S. banks passed a 5 percent minimum hurdle for top-tier capital in an annual health check by the Federal Reserve, the central bank said on Thursday, as the industry continues to rebuild buffers after the crisis.

Zions Bancorp came in at 5.1 percent in a model run of a severe crisis that included a 25 percent drop in home prices and a stock market drop of nearly 60 percent. Last year, the bank fell just short of the mark.

The results come ahead of the publication of the second stage of the so-called stress tests next week, in which the Fed says whether banks can go ahead with planned increases in shareholder pay-outs such as dividends.

In that second stage of the exercise, the Fed uses qualitative criteria to assess how well banks manage their risk. The U.S. units of Deutsche Bank and Santander are expected to fail at that stage.

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Bernard Orr)