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The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s 2011 Annual Report featured an essay written by the bank’s president/CEO, John C. Williams. The essay, titled Opening the Temple, focused on the Fed’s gradual move to greater transparency.

As I read the essay, one particular paragraph struck a chord. In a section called “Financial Stability,” Mr. Williams makes the following statement: “…the Fed has become more open regarding its assessments of the financial health of the largest banks in the country. Traditionally, all supervisory information about banks was kept secret. … In early 2009, the Fed, working with other regulatory agencies, published the results of the first stress tests of the largest banks. These tests gave the public a better understanding of the financial health of each of the largest banks, reducing uncertainty and fear. In March of this year, the Federal Reserve publicly released the results of its latest stress tests of the largest banks. Publication of the stress test results has proven to strengthen public confidence in the banking system.”

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