Saturday, May 16, 2015

Today I got to be 65, and so I give myself a list of some of my ramblings on bank regulations, in no special order.

The current pillar of bank regulations “more-perceived-risk-more-equity and less perceived risk less equity” is absolutely wrong, but might intuitively seem too correct so as to allow Daniel Kahneman’s System 2 even to begin its deliberation.

Today banks compete to obtain higher returns on equity more by reducing the equity needed that by identifying those who pay the highest risk adjusted margins.

Today the dollar in net risk adjusted margin paid by those perceived “safe” is worth more to the bank than that same dollar paid by “the risky”.

If you have regulators that do not understand that different equity requirements affects the risk-adjusted returns on equity of assets, which dangerously distorts the allocation of bank credit to the real economy…then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators that do not understand that the perceived risk of bank assets does not matter since what is important is how the banks manage those perceptions of risk…then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators that do not even look at the empirical evidence of what has caused all major bank crisis, never something perceived ex ante as risky, always something erroneously perceived ex ante as safe...then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators who cannot manage the differences between ex ante perceived risks and ex post realities, and so can understand that what really poses dangers for the banking system at large are assets perceived as “safe”… then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators who regulate banks without clearly defining their purpose… then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently... because then the current ones would only be freaking dangerous vigilantes. 

If you have regulators who believe they have the right to odiously discriminate against the fair access to bank credit of those perceived as "risky", SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups… then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators who believe they have the right to specially favor the fair access to bank credit of those perceived as "safe" sovereigns and members of the AAArisktocracy… then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently.

If you have regulators who set the weights for capital (equity) requirements for banks when lending to government at 0%, and at 100% when lending to SMEs, which means that banks will lend more and at lower relative rates to the government than to the SMEs… that means de facto they believe that government bureaucrats are more productive using bank credit than SMEs… and then you’ve got to change your bank regulators… urgently... because then the current ones would only be freaking dangerous communists

Had regulators thought abut the “what are banks for?”, they would have known that banks are to allocate credit efficiently to the real economy, and they would never have concocted those highly distortionary credit-risk weighted equity requirements for banks.

A different take on the previous, is that the first step of any good risk management, is to clearly identify the risks you cannot afford not to take.

Few things are as risky as an excessive risk aversion.

Why is so much discussed about excessive risk-taking… and so little about excessive risk aversion?

Risk taking is the oxygen of development and we owe it to our kids and grandchildren that banks take risks with reasoned audacity. Nothing as dangerous, as excessive risk avoidance. God make us daring!

Our grandchildren will damn current bank regulators for denying them the risk-taking needed for them to find decent jobs.

Banks do not finance the risky future anymore they just refinance the safer past.
  
Bank regulators recommended banks an investment strategy fitting old retirees with short life expectancies and completely ignored the need of our young ones.

The best macro-prudential regulations is one of micro-prudential regulations that help banks to fail… fast… not the current micro-prudential regulation, which only helps to create too big to fail banks.

Mini-bank-equity requirements are the best growth hormones for the too big to fail banks.

Perfect information makes everyone to stay in bed… why bother, there’s not going to be any real profits? Blissful ignorance and imperfect information is a great driver of the economy.

Don’t ever allow a failed regulator to get away with the “this was a Black Swan, a totally unexpected event, a completely unforeseen consequence” excuse.

If a regulator tells you that the risk-weight of a sovereign is 0% but the risk weight of the citizens of that sovereign is 100%, then the regulators is not a regulator, only a communist.

If the Home of the Brave were really the Land of the Free, would they have allowed the current risk aversion in bank regulations?

With an Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B) how come regulators are allowed to discriminate against somebody’s access to bank credit only because he is perceived as risky from a credit point of view?

How can a Governor allow that his state chartered banks can lend, for instance to Germany, against much less equity that when lending to a local entrepreneur? 

Hold your bank regulators accountable. If they fail like they did with Basel II, do not promote them, and much less allow them to design Basel III. Neither Hollywood nor Bollywood would never ever do a stupid thing like that, after a mega box-office-flop.

Do not allow regulators to regulate within the confinement of a mutual admiration club. That only guarantees degenerative groupthink.

Without regulators and regulations, how many banks, like those in Europe, would have been allowed to leverage their equity 30 to 50 times to 1? ¡Zero¡ 

When you regulate, remember that every rule carries in it the seeds of being a systemic risk that can explode as a truly dangerous systemic error.

If your Homeland Security cannot visualize that bad distortive bank regulations could be even more dangerous than a full fledge terrorist attack… then you’ve got to refresh your Homeland Security

If you have progressives who do not understand how higher bank equity requirements when lending to those perceived as risky kills opportunities and drives inequality, then you better get yourself some new progressives.

If you have some free-market defenders that do not see how regulators, with their credit risk weighted equity requirements for banks, impose capital controls on where bank credit should go, and accept to talk about a de-regulated market, then you better get yourself some new liberals.

Finance professor’s in university that do not care about such “vulgar” issues as bank regulations and how these can influence the economy should be send to a boot-camp for a refresher. There they could for instance learn that the risk-free rate they are using is currently a subsidized risk free rate.

Anyone talking about de-regulation when we are in fact facing one of the most intrusive and distortive regulations ever… has been brainwashed.

While current regulatory distortions exists the QEs are just a waste, since these only help to increase the value of the existing assets… sometimes by even reducing what there is… like with the buybacks of shares.

“The possible Big Bang that scares me the most is the one that could happen the day those genius bank regulators in Basel, playing Gods, manage to introduce a systemic error in the financial system, which will cause the collapse of our banks.”

The whole regulatory framework coming out of the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision might possibly put a lid on development finance, as a result of being more biased in favor of safety of deposits as compared to the need for growth.

“A mixture of thousand solutions, many of them inadequate, may lead to a flexible world that can bend with the storms. A world obsessed with Best Practices may calcify its structure and break with any small wind”

But... being too right is too bad for your own voice

Unless blessed with eternal ignorance, how can bank regulators live with themselves knowing what they are doing?

How naïve and infantile is it not to believe that what is perceived as risky is what is really risky?

PS. I will be editing and adding on to this points whenever I remember any other of my ramblings.