Monday, June 13, 2011

Do not even think of selling “Too-big-to-fail” franchises, much less for a meager 3 percent of additional bank equity.

It would seem like some regulators want to sell “Too-big-to-fail” franchises to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs/G-SIFIs), and even for a mere 3 percent in additional capital. Do not even think of it! 

Not only will 3 percent of additional bank capital end up being almost meaningless in the case of a systemic explosion or implosion of these huge banks, but it is also probable that precisely those Too-big-to-fail banks that we least should want to be too big to fail, will be those most likely to exploit the franchise for all it is worth, in order to compensate the additional equity required, in the ways we would least like to see these franchises exploited. 

Of course regulators will argue these franchises will be the subject of special supervision. Who are they fooling? Is it not hard enough for them to supervise these behemoths without labeling them as the most likely candidates for special support?