Capital Requirements and Bailouts

Fabrizio Perri, Monetary Advisor

Georgios Stefanidis, Research Analyst

August 2017 | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Staff Report 554

We use balance sheet data and stock market data for the major U.S. banking institutions during and after the 2007-8 financial crisis to estimate the magnitude of the losses experienced by these institutions because of the crisis. We then use these estimates to assess the impact of the crisis under alternative, and higher, capital requirements. We find that substantially higher capital requirements (in the 20% to 30% range) would have substantially reduced the vulnerability of these financial institutions, and consequently they would have significantly reduced the need of a public bailout.