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Will The Banks Come Clean On Their Own?

One thing struck me as a little goofy from that second FT piece I cited:

In early April, big institutions will publish their first-quarter results. If the intervening Treasury stress tests have not by then revealed the true state of their balance sheets, then their first-quarter results may do so.

"The first week in April - that's when the children's party is over," says Chris Whalen, co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics. "That is when the obvious will become apparent."

But, if earnings statements were going to tell us what kind of shape the banks were in, wouldn't we already know by now? The banks have to put out earnings statements every quarter after all, and last year wasn't a very good year, to say the least. Shouldn't the results we already saw have clued us in to what's going on? Why would the banks suddenly come clean now?

--Noam Scheiber