The government's program to conduct stress tests on the 19 largest banks has led to endless hype in the news media and considerable stress for banks. Regulators and executives have been stupefied about the program since it was announced by the Treasury Department in February.

Stress tests have been conducted at major banks for decades. It's an important element in their supervision and in their own risk management programs. I would not find fault with regulators deciding to undertake new stress tests of the largest banks using uniform assumptions, but the public announcement of the tests was a stunning mistake.

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