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Financial Regulators See Progress and Threats

"Some of the same weaknesses that contributed to the disastrous 2008 financial crisis persist today, the Financial Stability Oversight Council said in its 2014 annual report to Congress.

"The report, released on Wednesday, highlights what it called 'the considerable progress we have collectively made to improve the strength and resiliency of the financial sector.' But Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said at Wednesday’s open meeting of the council: 'Our job is not done. We must continue our collective efforts to monitor risks, address vulnerabilities and build a stronger and safer financial system.'

"The 'chief accomplishment' in recent years has been the improvement in big bank holding companies’ balance sheets, Ms. Yellen said, adding that the Federal Reserve’s stress tests had “provided a level of confidence in our assessment of how financial institutions would fare” in another downturn.

"The oversight council — made up of the heads of the Treasury, Fed and other regulators — also cited the completion of the so-called Volcker rule restricting certain firms from making bets with their own money, as well as new rules on bank capital, leverage ratios and swaps markets.

"But threats old and new abound, and the annual report acts as a guide to what Washington is worried about when it comes to Wall Street."

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