Saturday, February 21, 2015

ECB, swap the European sovereign bonds you acquired with QEs, for fresh bank equity in European private banks.

My heart goes out to the so many who are unemployed in Europe, as a direct consequence of banks not lending to SMEs and entrepreneurs, this a direct consequence of being required to hold much more of very scarce bank equity when doing so, than when lending to the “infallible sovereigns” or to the AAArisktocracy.

My heart goes out to pension funds, widows and orphans, who do not find a “safe” place for their investment and savings because, as a direct consequence of those same bank equity requirements, they must now compete with banks eager to access debt issued by the “infallible sovereigns” or by the AAArisktocracy.

And growth in Europe is so dismal that even those classified as “infallible sovereigns”, are offering negative rates, which of course is a “haircut”.

I have no idea whether it would be politically viable but, if I was the ECB, and or a government in Europe, the following is the proposal I would put on the table for its urgent discussion:

Assign the same 100% risk weight to all bank assets, so as to allow banks to allocate credit efficiently to the European real economies. 

That would signify an 8 percent equity requirement for all bank assets, which would open up a very significant need for new bank equity.

Let the ECB temporarily fill that hole by subscribing bank equity, paying with the sovereign bonds it has acquired as a consequence of QEs.

In due time ECB would resell those bank shares to the markets. While these shares are in possession of ECB, it will refrain from exercising any voting rights.

Banks can do whatever they want with those bonds… but since holding sovereign bonds would now require them to have 8 percent in equity we can safely assume they would resell these as well as other sovereign bonds they had, to pension funds and widows and orphans.

Banks would as a consequence immediately be able to look again at credit request from the tough "risky" risk takers Europe needs in order to have a future. Enough with not financing the future and just refinancing history J

Bankers, having then to service the dividend aspirations of much more equity, could of course see their bonuses slightly constrained J

And I guess that adequately capitalizing banks, is of some interest not only of those sovereigns in the periphery J

What would happen to current market value of bank shares? We do not know, but perhaps their dramatically increased safety would more than compensate for their much lower allowed leverage, and prices could even go up. Who knows, perhaps even pension funds, widows and orphans could become buyers of European bank shares J

Western world... listen!

God make us daring!

Or do like Chile did!