August 12, 2016
Sir, Sarah Gordon writes: “Thousands of small and medium-sized companies have gone under, taking with them the bank loans on which they depended, as well as demand for lending”, “The spreading pain of Italy’s bank saga”, August 11.
First let us make on thing very clear, those thousand and SMEs that have gone under more than they were expected to go under, did so as a result of the 2007-08 crisis. They had not one iota to do with causing the crisis.
And so let me explain it again, for the umpteenth time: Before current bank regulations, pre 1988, pre Basel Committee, no one made a distinction between a Lira or an Euro in capital invested in something perceived as safe, or in something perceived as risky.
But then the Basel Committee came along and decided that, if banks invested in something perceived, decreed or concocted as safe, then a unit of their capital (equity) could be leveraged more than 60 to 1, while, if invested in for instance some loans to SMEs and entrepreneurs, that same unit could only be leveraged 12.5 to 1.
And so of course that introduced a very serious distortion of the allocation of bank credit to the real economy, which persists until today, all because our besserwisser bank regulators, insist on that they are besserwissers.
If Italy does not allow its SMEs or entrepreneurs to have fair access to bank credit then it is doomed to stagnation… that is unless La Banca Sommersa comes to its rescue.