February 25, 2013

Does FT really want to impede banks to help out, so that we must rely on government? I pray it is not so.

Sir, “Moody’s grows nervous at Britain’s extension of austerity” reports Sarah O’Connor, February 25. 

But what Moody really should be nervous about is the fact that bank regulators allow banks to make so much higher expected risk-adjusted profits when lending to someone with a good rating than when lending to for instance someone unrated. That will of course dampen the risk-taking a nation needs to move forward. And, if Moody and the others don’t know that, then they should lose their credit rating quality ratings. 

And in “British credit fears” you hold Sir that “ratings decisions can sometimes have real effects because of the wrong-headed way investment mandates and capital rules are designed to rely on them”. And that leads me to ask you, if you believe it “wrong-headed”, why have you then been so silent about it? Might it be because you are too hard-headed? 

You write “As this newspaper has long argued, there is room to shift resources from inefficient subsidies to uses that can stimulate the economy [and] to unclog banking and tilt Britain away from over relying on finance”. But Sir, if there is a real clog that stops banks from helping us to efficiently allocate resources in our real economy that is precisely imposing different capital requirements for banks based on perceptions of risk. 

Sir, you sometimes leave me feeling very uneasy. Could it really be that you want to impede banks to help out, just so that we must rely more on government? I do pray I am wrong.