September 02, 2017

How did the world get into such a mess, and will it happen again? Here is why, and yes, as is, it will happen again!

Sir, Patrick Jenkins quotes Lord King — now a professor at the LSE and New York University with: “it was inevitable that a crisis was going to occur… The banking system as a whole was very highly leveraged. It had on its balance sheet a large volume of assets that were very difficult to value and no one could work out what the exposure of one individual bank was” “Financial crisis: 10 years on Where are we now?” September 2.

“How had the world ended up in such a mess — and has enough been done to stop something similar happening again?”, asks Jenkins.

First: The crisis resulted from: Basel II of 2004 allowing banks to leverage capital (equity) more than 60 times if only there was an AAA-to AA rating presents or if the exposure was to a friendly sovereign, like Greece. 

Jenkins writes “When the 2007 crisis broke, fingers of blame were pointed in all directions…. at policymakers for presiding over an environment of low interest rates and lax regulation” Lax regulation? No! Extremely distorting regulations. Had banks not been regulated by means of risk weighted capital requirements for sure some other crisis could have happened… but not that one that is here referred to.

Second: Since the risk weighing of some capital requirements is still used that guarantees that sooner or later, some safe-haven, like that of sovereign debt, will become dangerously overpopulated. Add to that the fact that risky bays, like SMEs and entrepreneurs, will not, as a result have sufficient access to credit, which will debilitate the real economy… and you can only come to the conclusion that, yes a crisis of the same nature is bound to happen again.

How can we stop it! To begin by removing all those who had something to do with current bank regulations because, as Einstein said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”.

To not debilitate the banks with fines and go after those responsible for any misbehavior would also help.

What would I do? Impose a straight 10% capital requirement against all assets; and if that puts a too big squeeze on bank capital, I would go a Chilean route of having central banks take on loans in order to capitalize the banks; and thereafter prohibiting banks from paying dividends before those shares that would have a preferential dividend have all been repurchased from the central banks. But that’s just me.