Sunday, March 5, 2017

Here is one mystery in current bank regulations that regulators refuse to reveal to us.

That which has an AAA rating, meaning it is perceived as very safe, will of course have much access to bank credit, and be required to pay very low risk premiums. If those ratings then turn out to be wrong, sometimes precisely because since it was considered very safe too much credit was given to it, individual banks, and the bank system, face a very serious problem.

That which has a below a BB- rating, meaning it is perceived as extremely risky, has access to much less credit and, when it gets it, will be by paying much higher risk premiums. If those ratings turn out to be even worse, some individual bank might have a smaller problem, but the bank system as such, would face no problems at all.

But, an here is the mystery, bank regulators, with their Basel II, in June 2004, for the purpose of setting the capital requirements for banks, set a 20% risk weight for the AAA rated and 150% for what is below BB-.

Why so? If "safe" could be dangerous and "risky" is innocuous, could it not really be the other way around?

And that, since regulators refuse to explain it, is now, soon 13 years later, still a mystery to us