On March 4, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) released a final rule amending and simplifying the capital rules for large banks, as well as instructions for the 2020 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) cycle. The final rule, which is “broadly similar” to the Fed’s April 2018 proposal (covered by InfoBytes here), incorporates a simplified framework that integrates a “stress capital buffer” (SCB) requirement, which will use supervisory stress test results to establish the size of a firm’s stress capital buffer requirement. The stress test—one element of the annual CCAR—helps determine a firm’s capital requirements for the upcoming year. According to the Fed, “[b]y combining the Board’s stress tests—which project the capital needs of each firm under adverse economic conditions—with the Board’s non-stress capital requirements, large banks will now be subject to a single, forward-looking, and risk-sensitive capital framework.” The simplification would result in banks needing to meet eight capital requirements, instead of the current 13. Among other things, the final rule will also (i) increase capital requirements for global systemically important banks and decrease requirements for less complex banks; and (ii) continue to subject all banks to ongoing, non-stress leverage requirements.

The final rule applies to bank holding companies and U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banking organizations with more than $100 billion in total consolidated assets, and will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, with a firm’s first stress capital buffer requirement, as determined under the final rule, effective October 1, 2020.