UPDATE 1-U.S. financial regulators tout financial system amid pandemic


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By Pete Schroeder

WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) – U.S. financial regulators said on Thursday the country’s financial system was well-positioned to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top officials across the federal government convened Thursday and said that years of building up bank capital and liquidity reserves meant institutions should be able to continue lending throughout a massive slowdown of the U.S. economy.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Jelena McWilliams told fellow regulators she sees the banking sector as “well-positioned to deliver much-needed capital and liquidity to communities across the United States.”

“Our banks are safe. Your FDIC-insured deposits are safe,” she told the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

The agencies also touted their efforts to make it easier for financial institutions to lend, easing rules and clarifying standards over the last few weeks.

“This is unquestionably a challenging time and the Fed is committed to using all of our tools to safeguard the economy,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell.

Joseph Otting, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said regulators would consider more rule tweaks if needed “to support the orderly function of banks in meeting the needs of their customers and the nation.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who chaired the meeting, said the recent compromise on economic support legislation approved by the Senate should help guide the United States through the slowdown. He said he expects the House of Representatives to pass the bill and send it to President Donald Trump to sign it into law in the next few days. (Reporting by Pete Schroeder)


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