December 06, 2015

Bank regulators’ magnificent pro-cyclical machine is fueled by credit rating downgrades

Sir, Eric Platt writes: “US corporate downgrades soar past $1tn as defaults gain pace” December 5.

He discusses several of its implications but forgets one of the most important, namely its impact in the capital requirements for banks. As is, because of the risk weighted capital requirements for banks, these will be required to hold more capital, meaning they will be able to lend less, or even have to dispose of assets, meaning everything will get worse, all the courtesy of dumb and useless pro-cyclical regulations.

The moment a bank puts an asset on its books, that is the moment when it needs to have sufficient capital, and that sufficiency should obviously include the possibility of a future downgrading.

How is it bank regulators cannot understand that the safer something is perceived the larger the potential for bad news?

@PerKurowski ©