October 25, 2012

When will FT be able to speak out on bank regulations and regulators “without fear and without favour”?

Sir, in your “Sobering lessons from the Old Lady” October 25, you refer to Sir Mervin King the governor of Bank of England mentioning that “The UK banking system still has too little capital effectively to channel the BoE’s stimulus to households and businesses? Sincerely, whose fault is that? 

I truly find it hard to understand how a paper that promotes itself as “Without fear and without favor” does not have it in itself the courage to call out the silliness of such a statement. Is it not so that those capital requirements for banks based on perceived risk, and of which Sir Mervin King must have been approving of, force, especially in times of scarce bank capital, the banks to lend to “The Infallible”, for which lending little capital is required, and to avoid, lending to “The Risky”, for which much more bank capital is required. 

Had Sir Mervin King understood what he and his regulator colleagues did, they would, long ago, have at least temporarily reduced the capital requirements for banks when lending to “The Risky”. 

You end by mentioning “there is no way around the structural shift from an economy powered by credit to one built on investment”. Do you not understand that requires a total different view about risk-taking? Like one of “Risk is good!”