Today, nearly one year since the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC and Treasury publicly reported the "stress test" results for the 19 largest U.S. bank holding companies as part of the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (SCAP), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, during a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 46th Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition in Chicago, noted that the SCAP has "helped restore confidence in the banking system and broader financial system, thereby contributing to the economy's recovery." Chairman Bernanke briefly discussed the objectives and design of the SCAP program, lauding it "as extraordinary effort on the part of Federal Reserve staff and the staff of the other banking agencies" that "met its objectives of reducing uncertainty about losses and ensuring sufficient capital in the largest banking firms."

Chairman Bernanke also noted that the objective of SCAP was not only to "accomplish banking stability," but also to "hasten the return to a better lending environment" which "has not yet been realized, as bank lending continues to contract and terms and conditions remain tight." To meet the objective of "restoring the flow of credit through the banking system," Chairman Bernanke briefly highlighted the measures to "ensure" that supervisory actions "do not inadvertently impede sound lending," in particular that the Federal Reserve and other federal banking agencies have issued a series of policy statements to examiners on the importance of bank lending to creditworthy borrowers, on small business lending, and on commercial real estate loan restructuring.