December 05, 2016

Europe, if you do not remove current risk weighted capital requirements for banks, no stimulus will really help.

Sir, Reza Moghadam from Morgan Stanley writes: ECB should switch from buying sovereign bonds to funding the removal of troubled assets from European banks…[that] would do more to alleviate the constraints on economic recovery than sovereign bond purchases ever could. “How to redirect easy money and encourage banks to lend”, December 6.

Of course that would help, but only for a while. If you do not remove the risk weighted capital requirements for banks, those which distort the allocation of bank credit to the real economy, and which therefore impede any stimulus like QE or a European type Tarp to reach were it can do the most good, you’ll soon be back on the cliff, albeit higher up.

Sir, the lower the capital requirement, the higher the leverage of equity, the higher the expected risk adjusted return on bank equity be. Therefore you cannot be so naïve as to expect a banker like Moghadam to say one world that would imply higher capital requirements for anything. In fact, by allowing banks to earn the highest risk adjusted returns on what is perceived as safe, the Basel Committee has made the bankers’ wet dreams come true.

When will you invite someone, like me, who speaks out for the access to bank credit of the “risky” SMEs and entrepreneurs? Or are these beggars for opportunities, those who could help open new gateways to the future, just not glamorous enough for you?