REFILE-Major U.S. banks masked risk levels -WSJ

(Corrects spelling mistake in first paragraph)

April 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Major U.S. banks temporarily lowered
their debt levels just before reporting in the past five
quarters, making it appear their balance sheets were less risky,
the Wall Street Journal said, citing data from the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York.

The paper said on Friday 18 banks, including Goldman Sachs
Group (GS.N: ), Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM.N: )
Bank of of America (BAC.N: ) and Citigroup (C.N: ), understated the
debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an
average of 42 percent at the end of each period.

The banks had increased their debt in the middle of
successive quarters, it said.

Excessive leverage by the banks was one of the causes that
led to the global financial crisis in 2008.

Due to the credit crisis, banks have become more sensitive
about showing high levels of debt and risk, worried their stocks
and credit ratings could be punished, the Journal said.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York could not be immediately
reached for comment by Reuters.

Stock Market Money

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; editing by Karen

REFILE-Major U.S. banks masked risk levels -WSJ