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March 15, 2012

Regulators struggle with 'living wills' for banks

 How to divide a big failing global bank’s assets and what parts of a financial institution’s structure and investments should be publicly disclosed are two of the dozens of complex issues facing U.S. regulators as they draft rules for bank living wills.

At issue are regulations being drafted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve to have banks with more than $50 billion in assets write plans detailing how they would dismantle themselves in a way that does not ripple throughout the financial markets the way Lehman Brothers did when it disintegrated in 2008.

“Complex institutions that have revenue streams coming from all over the place will have to disaggregate their units, so that regulators can value them and understand the business,” said Dennis Kelleher, president of progressive watchdog group Better Markets.

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