September 07, 2016
Sir, since Patrick Jenkins misses out on the very important question of how our banks got here, it is hard for him to understand where they should go. “FT Big Read: Banking: Too dull to fail?” September 9.
We got here because regulators, without doing any type of research, concocted the loony theorem that bank crises were the result of excessive exposures to what was perceived as risky; and therefore imposed risk weighted capital requirements for banks; more perceived risk, more capital – less risk, less capital.
That immediately resulted in that banks, instead of maximizing their returns on equity by means of banking with reasoned audacity, or as Deirdre N. McCloskey would probably phrase it, by banking with courage and prudence, maximized their ROEs by minimizing equity.
And so the real problem is that banks can’t find the way out of their predicaments, unless we get ourselves a brand new set of regulators. Some who know about Voltaire’s “May God defend me from my friends [the AAA rated], I can defend myself from my enemies [the below BB- rated]”; and who know about John A Shedd’s “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.”
And we need that to happen fast! If we want our kids and grandchildren to have jobs in the future; and if we want to have a real economy sufficiently healthy to help pay for our retirements, dumb regulatory risk aversion imposed on banks is about what we least can afford
Would the UK, and the Western World have become what it is with utilities like banks? Of course not!
PS. Jamie Dimon has still not yet convinced me he is a real banker and not just one of those bank equity minimizing bankers.