Report Card Day for Banks

April 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's report-card day for the nation's biggest banks. Federal regulators will find out how they're measuring up to government standards that evaluate their financial soundness in the current crisis. It's a test no bank wants to fail. Nineteen major institutions begin learning today how their financial health is being graded by federal regulators.

The banks can challenge the government's methods and even the results of the so called "stress tests." If they're in danger of not having enough money, banks can propose ways to raise it to stay afloat.

The test results will be publicly released next month.

"I do believe it's valuable? ?to bring more transparency and more disclosure to potential losses on bank balance sheets," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The automobile industry is also facing its own financial health crisis. Friday, Ford reported a $1.4 billion dollar loss as fewer people bought new cars. GM will temporarily shut down thirteen plants this summer.

"We need people to buy GM vehicles. That would be a good thing. That would help us," said Linda Shively, a General Motors worker.

Chrysler may also be headed for bankruptcy.

There is some good news. Sales of durable goods, things like appliances and electronics, were down last month. But sales didn't drop nearly as far as Wall Street analysts expected.

Friday the president is hoping to provide some help to families trying to pay for college. He wants to cut a federal loan program that he says wastes $5-billion dollars a year.

In the meantime, finance ministers from around the world are gathering here in Washington for a series of weekend meetings aimed at reviving the global economy.

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