March 14, 2012

Deleveraging is so much harder on those officially deemed as risky

Sir, in a world of capital requirements for banks based on perceived risks, the banks achieve the most deleveraging by getting rid of what is officially perceived as risky. For instance for every 100 a bank currently drops of triple-A rated assets it will only free about 1.6 in equity, compared to the 8 in equity it manages to free up by dropping 100 of loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

That regulatory discrimination, based on perceived risks, is absolutely indefensible since markets and banks have already cleared for that by means of interest rates, amounts at exposure and other terms. 

It is truly sad to read Martin Wolf´s “A hard slog in the foothills of debt” March 14, as well as the quoted Mc Kinsey report “Debt and deleveraging”, January 2012, completely ignoring the regulatory discrimination against those officially deemed risky, which was already present when leveraging, but is also now, by far, the ugliest facet of deleveraging.