There’s good news and bad news with the ECB stress test results.
The good news is that the ECB/EBA is largely open and transparent with the assets on bank balance sheets. That’s also the bad news because every bended rule starts to look like a conspiracy to restore confidence in banks.
Bloomberg is already at it, reporting that some assets that were included will be gradually phased out over the next four years.
Had the fully phased-in EU rules been applied, the number of failures would have increased to 34, according to a calculation by Bloomberg News.
That may be the more reliable gauge, since capital is a measure of a bank’s capacity to absorb losses, and the jury’s still out on how well instruments such as goodwill and some deferred tax assets, admitted in the definition of capital used in the stress test, could do that job.
When people see goodwill counted as capital in a stress test, it erodes confidence. Expect analysts to spend the next 24 hours trying to poke holes in test and results.
Ultaimtely, I don’t think you can’t fault the ECB/EBA because they’ve been transparent and given the market the data.