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Bank Regulators Propose Liquidity Risk Managements Guidelines

Posted by Wendell Brock on Wed, Jul 22, 2009

Bank Regulators Solicit Comments on Proposed Liquidity Risk Managements

The U.S. federal bank regulators (OCC, FRB, FDIC, OTS) along with the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) have collectively produced a set of guidelines regarding liquidity risk management for financial institutions. The agencies are soliciting public comments on these guidelines through September 4.

The proposed guidelines define a framework for the identification, measurement and monitoring of funding and liquidity risk; they include specific recommendations for:

  • corporate governance
  • risk mitigation
  • management of intraday liquidity

The responsibility of board members

Under the proposed guidelines, an institution's board members are ultimately responsible for managing liquidity risk. The board must therefore establish an appropriate level of risk tolerance for the institution, and then communicate that risk tolerance profile to the internal management team. At least annually, the board should revisit the liquidity strategy to ensure that:

  • current liquidity risks are understood
  • the liquidity policy is still relevant and appropriate
  • the policy is being enforced
  • it is clear internally which senior managers are responsible for making liquidity risk decisions

Key aspects of an institution's liquidity plan

The institution's liquidity management plan should:

  • be appropriate given the complexity of the institution's structure and activities
  • identify primary funding sources, both for daily needs and seasonal or cyclical needs
  • define acceptable liquidity strategies, both for expected and unexpected business scenarios
  • address liquidity management in terms of separate currencies and/or business lines, where appropriate
  • address how the liquidity management practices dovetail with broader business strategies and contingency planning

The plan should establish liquidity projection assumptions and a periodic review process, to ensure that those assumptions continue to be valid over time. Qualitative targets and quantitative objectives should be clearly defined. Examples include:

  • Unpledged liquid asset reserve targets
  • Funding diversification targets
  • Contingent liability exposures
  • Desired asset concentrations
  • Activity exposures
  • Targeted level of unencumbered assets to serve as liquidity cushion

The guidelines also recommend that senior managers receive liquidity reports at least monthly, or more often when economic conditions are severe. Board members should be evaluating the institution's liquidity position at least quarterly.

It is also advised that complex institutions make efforts to build liquidity costs into internal product pricing and performance measurement.

Risk measurement and reporting

Institutions are expected to measure ongoing liquidity risk with short- and long-term cash flow projections that consider both on- and off-balance sheet items. As part of this process, the institution should have measures in place to ensure the appropriate valuation of assets. Other key components of an appropriate liquidity monitoring strategy include:

  • regular stress testing
  • collateral position management
  • procedures to monitor liquidity across business lines and legal entities
  • procedures to monitor and manage intraday liquidity position

The report also addresses liquidity risk management practices for holding companies. Read the Proposed Interagency Guidance here and ( ) let us know what you think. Are these recommended procedures detailed enough to head off unexpected liquidity crises when economic conditions sour? Have the agencies overlooked key liquidity management tactics? Or are these guidelines too much?

Topics: Bank Regulators, Bank Regulation, Regulations, Bank Policies, Bank Regulations, Bank Liquiditity

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