Supervisory Capital Assessment Program

18 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2018

Date Written: January 14, 2016


When President Obama took office in 2009, the Treasury focused on restarting bank lending and repairing the ability of the banking system as a whole to perform the role of credit intermediation. In order to do so, the Treasury needed to raise public confidence that banks had sufficient buffers to withstand even a very adverse economic scenario, especially given heightened uncertainty surrounding the outlook for the U.S. economy and potential losses in the banking system. The Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (SCAP) - the so-called “stress test” - sought to rigorously measure the health and resilience of the largest bank holding companies. Those found to have insufficient capital buffers were able to raise funds from the private sector, and if unable to do so, the Capital Assistance Program (CAP) would capitalize the firm with public capital. Ultimately, the SCAP test results were accepted as credible; all except one of the tested firms raised more than enough private capital in the following six months to fill the capital shortfall calculated by the the SCAP and the CAP went unused.

Keywords: stress test, public capital injection, Tier 1 capital, crisis intervention, bank holding company

Suggested Citation

Ross, Chase, Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (January 14, 2016). Yale Program on Financial Stability Working Paper No. 16-1. Available at SSRN: or

Chase Ross (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management

165 Whitney Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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