July 03, 2015

If FT cares more about bankers pay than about the distortions that caused the tragedy of Greece… what’s for the rest?

Sir, I do not know how many articles I have read in FT, since the crisis of 2007-08, about how much too much bankers are paid; the latest Laura Noonan’s "Top US bank chiefs race ahead of rivals on pay” July3.

But I sure know there have been very few articles, if any, in FT about the distortion that credit-risk weighted capital requirements for banks cause in the allocation of bank credit to the real economy.

Because of Basel II, between June 2004 and November 2009, and because of Greece’s credit ratings, banks had to hold only 1.6 percent in capital when lending to the government of Greece… an authorized bank leverage of more than 60 to 1 when lending to Greece? Have you ever heard such a crazy notion? Of course that distorted and made banks lend much too much to the government of Greece… Has anyone for instance asked Merkel about the responsibility of German banks in satisfying the spending addiction of the Greek governments? When it comes to the use of drugs don’t we usually punish the pusher more than the consumer?

But no, clearly how much bankers earn is of much more interest to FT.

FT why don’t you try to figure out how much bonuses were paid out to bankers from book profits derived from pushing loans to Greece? That would perhaps be a more interesting angle.

PS. Greeks, beware of Basel Committee's bank regulators bringing gifts to your government!