The Federal Reserve directed at least seven of the nation’s biggest banks to bolster their capital levels by $65 billion while effectively blessing the stability of six others, marking for the first time a bold line between some of the nation’s stronger and weaker banks.
All I can say at this point is that I’m baffled. If Geithner is right, then everything is fine and the banking system was never really in very big trouble. $65 billion is nothing. But if the IMF is right, American banks are nearly $300 billion short. If Nouriel Roubini is right, the shortfall might be even greater.
So who is right? I have no idea. “All Americans should be confident that these institutions are going to be viable institutions going forward,” Geithner said tonight, and I sure hope that’s the straight dope. But these discrepancies are simply too large to wave away. Somebody is way, way off base, and I’d sure like to know who it is.