Thursday, November 14, 2013

In Europe banks no longer finance the future

These just refinance the past... (and so Europe is going down, down, down)

Let me refer again to the tragically misguided banking regulations in the world, designed by some who do not care one iota for the real economy, that which are not the banks.

The main principle of such regulations are capital requirements (equity) based on perceived risks. More risk more capital, less risk less capital.

And that results in the bank can expect to earn much higher expected risk-adjusted returns on equity , when financing the safe (refinancing the past) than when finance the risky (the future).

And that results in that the economies do not take enough risks to produce its absolutely-safes of tomorrow ... but will dedicated itself to milk the cows of yesterday, to extract their last drop of milk.

And all sheer stupidity. Regulators ignored, and still ignore, that perceived risks, such as those reflected in credit ratings, have already been cleared for by banks and markets when setting interest rates, the amounts of the loans, duration and other clauses, And so when the same perceptions of risk, are reused, now to determine the required capital, this only ensures that the banking system overdoses on perceived risk.

They also forgot that their regulatory risk with banks has nothing to do with the perceived risks of the bank's customers ... and everything to do with how the bankers perceive and react to these perceptions.

And that the above causes distortions in the allocation of bank credit in the real economy, still nothing is discussed.

For an older person, retired, with barely sufficient savings, a financial advisor must recommend a super safe conservative investment strategy which provides liquidity, traditionally bonds. But, in the case of a young professional, who is saving for retirement in 30 years, the obligatory advice is to take much more risks, such as buying stocks.

And so you can say that bank regulators follow rules adequate for the old, and not for the young. I assure you that if the European youth, such as that in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, lifted their eyes just a little while from their iPads, or similar devices, and realized what was being done to them, many sites would burn...like Troy.

Worse yet, the regulators require banks to have an 8% capital when lending to an ordinary citizen entrepreneur, but allow these to lend to their governments, holding no capital at all. This has quietly introduced a perverse communism, and disrupted all price-risk equations in capital markets. Of course, all in close association with other beneficiaries like the members of the AAAristocracy.

But, you might say ... "At least we will have safe banks". Do not delude yourself. All banking crisis, whenever not a case of outright fraud, have been unleashed by excessive lending to what ex ante was perceived as absolutely safe, and which, ex post, turned out to be risky, and no banking crisis in history, has resulted because of excessive loans to what was correctly perceived as risky.

As a young man, in Sweden, in the churches where from time to time I went, they sang psalms which implored, "God, make us daring". European regulators, with respect to their banks, are now rewarding cowardice... (and so Europe is going down, down, down)

Translated from El Universal