Regulators claimed Wednesday that their new focus on risk management will help them detect bank problems before they become disasters.

"The advantage of this supervision-by-risk approach that everybody's focusing on is that it is prospective," Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig said in testimony before the House Banking Committee. "What we ask our examiners now to do first is think about what is the risk profile of this institution, not only now but on a going-forward basis. Traditional methods, while they were risk-based, tended to be more static."

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