Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Basel Committee, the Financial Stability Board and “The Parable of the Talents” Matthew 25:14-30

The governments, on behalf of us citizens, us taxpayers, support the banks in times of troubles, for instance by the Fed acting as a lender of last resort. And that can cost us citizens, us taxpayers, a lot.

But that risk of supporting the banks is not acceptable only in order to produce special profits to bank shareholders, or just to have the banks serve as a mattress where to safely stash away our money. It is accepted exclusively so that banks, by means of efficiently allocating bank credit, could help us to drive our economies forward.

And that willingness to support-the-banks-risk is, for its management, placed into the hands of bank regulators, like the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board.

But these regulators decided (on their own) that banks’ primary purpose was to avoid risks… something loony because that by itself would negate the reason for supporting the banks.

And so they concocted credit risk weighted equity requirements that made banks earn much higher risk-adjusted returns on equity when lending to those perceived as "absolutely safe", than when lending to "the risky".

And that regulatory risk aversion, besides stopping banks from lending to the risky, like to small businesses; also made banks lend excessively to what ex ante was perceived as absolutely safe, but that ex post turned out to be very risky, like AAA rated securities and Greece.

And that all resulted in a crisis that caused immense costs… this time without having generated sufficient and reasonable compensation in terms of creating sturdy economic growth.

And those risk adverse regulations now block our way out of the crisis... and might doom our young to become a lost generation.

And today in mass we were reminded of “The Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30, and of which I extract the following: 

14 “It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey… 

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
And in the sermon we later heard abut the dangers of caution and of playing it safe; and about the security that comes from risk-taking.

And there was a reference to Erikson’s Theory… with its Generativity that includes reaching out to others in ways that give to and guide the next generation, and a commitment which extends beyond self; versus Stagnation with its placing own comfort and security above challenge and sacrifice, and its self-centered, self- indulgent, and self-absorbed.

And we prayed for “courage so that we can walk in the way of the Lord”… and of course I was reminded of “God make us daring!

And so I naturally identified with the “Master” in wanting to throw those “wicked lazy” bank regulators “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”