December 30, 2017

Sadly, banks must now to take on board rules that were not adjusted to what caused the crisis

Sir, Martin Arnold, your Banking Editor writes: “In the coming year, much of the alphabet soup of post-crisis financial regulation will be completed — including Basel III, IFRS 9 and Mifid II — giving the industry the most clarity for almost a decade on the rule book it must follow.” “Lenders take on board rules of a post-crisis world” December 30.

We are soon three decades after regulators in 1988 with Basel I, concocted risk weighted capital requirements for banks, and 13 years after they put these on steroids with Basel II’s risk weights of 0% for sovereigns, 20% for AAA rated, and 35% for residential mortgages. That caused irresistible temptations for banks to create excessive exposures to these “safe” assets, which resulted in the 2007/08 crisis. And yet there is almost no discussion about that monstrous regulatory mistake.

So the risk weighting is still part of the regulations; and therefore the 0% risk weighted bank exposures to sovereings keeps growing and growing; as well as is the disortion of bank credit in favor of the “safer” present and against the “riskier” future. 

In this respect if I were to title something of this sort at this moment it would be more in line of “Lenders take on board rules that have not been adjusted to the crisis and therefore guarantee a world with even larger bank crises”

The irresponsibility and lack of transparency evidenced by the members of the Basel Committee is amazing. The lack willingness of media, like the Financial Times, to pose some simple questions to these regulators, is just as incomprehensible. 

When the next bank crisis, or the next excessive exposure to something perceived as very safe blows up in our face, how will your bank editor then explain his silence on this?

PS. I could not find the link to Martin Arnold's piece.