July 20, 2015

FT, when have you lately heard a regulator state that allocating credit efficiently is a bank’s most important purpose?

Sir, Jonathan Ford writes “the banking lobby has been relentless in its opposition to reform, seeking to present it in terms of false choices — between growth and safer banks, or between regulation and a successful financial system.” “Relief for banks as Britain puts a leash on its financial watchdog” July 20.

Of course these are false choices… but the fact is that regulators pursuing safer banks are negatively affecting growth. Their credit risk weighted capital requirements for banks distort immensely the allocation of bank credit to the real economy.

And clearly, from what Ford describes, Martin Wheatley of the Financial Conduct Authority saw more his role as an bank inquisitor, and had no concern whatsoever about credit allocation.

Let us hope his successor is willing to include a hefty dose of regulatory mea culpa, and does not just follow in the political convenient track of only holding “bankers publicly accountable for their actions”.