April 22, 2017

When you parents prod banks to finance houses more than SMEs, more of your children will have to live with you.

Sir, Stephen Burgen when reporting on the horrifying lack of jobs in Spain, especially for the younger, informs: “According to a report by Spain’s Youth Council, a body of youth organisations, nearly 80 per cent of those aged between 16 and 29 years old live with their parents” “Part-time labour” April 22.

For purposes of setting the capital requirements for banks, in 2004 Basel II set the risk weight for financing residential houses at 35% while that for financing an unrated SME or entrepreneur was set at 100%.

That meant that banks could leverage their equity much more when financing the purchase of a house than when lending to SMEs or entrepreneurs.

That meant that banks would earn higher risk adjusted returns on equity when financing the purchase of a house than when lending to SMEs or entrepreneurs.

And so of course, the result of such distortion in the allocation of bank credit, will mean there will be much more financing of houses than job creations.

C’est la vie! Those who will most pay the consequences of bank regulators being so dumb, are of course the young.

Though their chances of obtaining clear answers are very slim, here are some questions the young could try to ask the bank regulators.

Burgen writes: “Casual contracts keep Spaniards looking for permanent work. Only a minority enjoy the benefits and security of permanent employment”. “Part-time labour” April 22.

Welcome to the new world… in which structural unemployment, created among other by robots and automation, and nurtured by dumb regulators, might mean hundred of millions young never ever having something resembling an employment.

I ask would not a Universal Basic Income, let’s say some 400 Euros allow everyone to adapt? It would be a small but useful ladder with which to step up to the gig economy. 

That could be much more efficient than introducing additional costly distortions such as paying “up to €9,600 per annum to employers who offer young people permanent contracts” or “giving public sector workers on short-term contracts [special benefits to obtain] permanent jobs”. Really? Threatening to take away the permanent jobs of bank regulators if they don’t smart up, fast, seems like a better strategy.