Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Financial AAAristocracy… in the US?

Bank regulators, who knows based on what right, created a financial aristocracy. It is composed by “The Noble Infallible” borrowers, like “The Noble AAAs”, and “The Noble Systemic Important Financial Institutions”, technically known as “The Noble SIFI’s” or, in more vulgar terms, “The Noble Too-Big-To-Fail banks”, “The Noble TBTF”.

When compared to the commons, like any unrated borrower, “The Risky”, like small businesses and entrepreneurs, and to smaller banks, like community banks, also known as “systemic un-important financial institutions”, the Financial Aristocracy has been endowed with immense privileges.

Just as an example, according to the Basel II orders, a bank can lend to a “Noble AAA” holding only 1.6 percent in capital, while if lending to any lowly member of ‘The Risky”, it needs to hold 8 percent in capital, five times as much!

The previous signifies of course that every dollar paid in risk adjusted interest rates by a Noble AAA represents five times in return on bank equity that the same risk-adjusted dollar in interests paid by the unrated "risky" commoner.

Of course to keep their rulers happy, bank regulators also named these as “The Absolute Infallible” and which, again according to the rulings of Basel II, signified that banks needed to hold no capital at all when lending to the Supreme Sovereign.

I can understand perhaps how this appointments of a Financial Aristocracy, or more precise yet an AAArisktocracy might have slipped through in Europe, but, in America, where its Constitution establishes: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States”... how on earth did that happen?

And though the United States in June 2004 formally committed to implementing the Basel II bank regulations; and though the SEC in April 2004 delegated supervision decisions to the Basel Committee,  there is surrealistically enough not one single mention of these regulations, or of the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, in the 848 pages of the Dodd-Frank Act. And this though that Act makes reference to foreign organizations like the Extractive Industry Transparency Review (EITI). It would seem like someone somewhere, has been playing some dirty tricks on someone.

And, by the way, discriminating against risk-taking, in a land which became what it is thanks to risk-taking, in “the land of the brave”… You’ve got to be kidding!