Saturday, March 15, 2014

European Union, ask the Basel Committee about regulatory distortions in the allocation of bank credit to the real economy

Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 dictated by The European Parliament concerning Prudential Requirements for Credit Institutions and Investment Firms establishes:

“44. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are one of the pillars of the Union economy given their fundamental role in creating economic growth and providing employment. The recovery and future growth of the Union economy depends largely on the availability of capital and funding to SMEs established in the Union to carry out the necessary investments to adopt new technologies and equipment to increase their competitiveness. The limited amount of alternative sources of funding has made SMEs established in the Union even more sensitive to the impact of the banking crisis. It is therefore important to fill the existing funding gap for SMEs and ensure an appropriate flow of bank credit to SMEs in the current context. Capital charges for exposures to SMEs should be reduced through the application of a supporting factor equal to 0,7619 to allow credit institutions to increase lending to SMEs. To achieve this objective, credit institutions should effectively use the capital relief produced through the application of the supporting factor for the exclusive purpose of providing an adequate flow of credit to SMEs established in the Union.”

Favoring bank lending to the SMEs this way, implies that the European Parliament admits that the risk weighted capital requirements for banks distort the allocation of bank credit to the real economy. The question then is why has not the European Union, the European Parliament, formally asked the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, about the implications of such distortions. Is that issue not of utmost importance? Have they, when regulating, not given any considerations to the purpose of banks?

And by the way where did the European Parliament get 0,7619 from? And by the way that still equates to an effective risk weight that is 3 times higher than that applicable to any AAA rated company which might be taking a bank loan only to repurchase its own shares.

And if this is the way to go would the European Union consider to design a similar “supporting factor” for any bank lending which promotes the sustainability of planet earth?