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The CLASS Model: A Top-Down Assessment of the U.S. Banking System
Central banks and bank supervisors have increasingly relied on capital stress testing as a supervisory and macroprudential tool. Stress tests have been used by central banks and supervisors to assess the resilience of individual banking companies to adverse macroeconomic and financial market conditions as a way of gauging additional capital needs at individual firms and as a means of assessing the overall capital strength of the banking system. In this post, we describe a framework for assessing the impact of various macroeconomic scenarios on the capital and performance of the U.S. banking system?the Capital and Loss Assessment under Stress Scenarios (CLASS) model?and present some of its key outputs.
AUTHORS: Hirtle, Beverly; Kovner, Anna; Bhanot, Meru; Vickery, James
Assessing financial stability: the Capital and Loss Assessment under Stress Scenarios (CLASS) model
The CLASS model is a top-down capital stress testing framework that uses public data, simple econometric models, and auxiliary assumptions to project the effect of macroeconomic scenarios on U.S. banking firms. Through the lens of the model, we find that the total banking system capital shortfall under stressful macroeconomic conditions began to rise four years before the financial crisis, peaking in the fourth quarter of 2008. The capital gap has since fallen sharply, and is now significantly below pre-crisis levels. In the cross section, banking firms estimated to be most sensitive to macroeconomic conditions also have higher capital ratios, consistent with a ?precautionary? view of bank capital, though this behavior is evident only since the crisis. We interpret our results as evidence that the resiliency of the U.S. banking system has improved since the financial crisis, and also as an illustration of the value of stress testing as a macroprudential policy tool.
AUTHORS: Hirtle, Beverly; Kovner, Anna; Vickery, James; Bhanot, Meru