August 01, 2014

As oaths come, a bank regulators´ is much more important than a bankers´.

Sir, Gary Silverman refers to the possibility of bankers, as masters of the universe, having to take an oath of office, “A cynic´s case for the bankers´ oath” August 1.

It could not hurt but, long before that it is more important that bank regulators take one… they are after all public servants… at least in concept.

What could be included in that oath? Perhaps the following could at least be a good start.

“I swear that regulating I will never forget banks have a purpose that goes way beyond guaranteeing their existence. In this respect I accept that helping banks to fail expeditiously, before they grow too large, is part of my responsibilities. I also swear that I will not believe myself to be a master of the universe, and for instance distort the allocation of bank credit through the use of credit risk weights that only very partially reflect the purpose of banks.

I also swear I will remember that all major bank crises have always resulted from excessive exposures to what was erroneously perceived as absolutely safe, so as to never confuse my own ex ante monsters with real ex post dangers”

121 words… too much? Then perhaps at this time, with lack of jobs menacing our children perhaps just having them quote John Augustus Shedd, 1850-1926, would do. “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for