Monday, July 1, 2013

Three Qs and As on our banks

Q. What is the first worst that can happen to our banks, excessive exposures to the risky?

A. No, the “risky” never poses any risk of excessive exposures, The first worst is when something considered as “absolutely safe”, and to which therefore bank exposures could be huge, blows up in their face.

Q. What is then the second worst?

A. That when the first worst happens, the banks would not have the capital needed to cover for the losses.

Q. But, if then regulators, by setting quite decent capital requirements for banks for holding what is perceived as “risky”, but almost nonexistent for exposures to what is perceived as “absolutely safe”, make it more likely that the first worst and the second worst come together… is that not sort of dumb?

A. Yes, indeed, I take it back. The first worst thing that can happen to our banks, are dumb regulators.

Conclusion: Throw out Basel's capital requirements for banks based on perceived risk and use a simple and straightforward leverage ratio of between 8 and 10%