January 30, 2014

Sir, don’t you recognize insanity when you see it?

Tobias Buck reports on how “banks from countries such as Spain and Italy borrow money cheaply from the European Central Bank to buy high-yielding sovereign debt from their own governments”, “Spain’s lenders reap profit on Madrid bonds”, January 30. And that the banks can do, because they need to hold no capital against these “infallible sovereigns”.

Frankly, Sir, don’t you recognize insanity when you see it? This is what the banks are doing in countries where the unemployment rates, especially those of the youth, want to make you cry. How on earth are the banks to help these countries to get out of what seems to be a death spiral?

And all because bank regulators do not care an iota about asking themselves what is the purpose of banks before regulating these… and therefore allow themselves to come up with loony risk-weighted capital requirements based on perceived risk of expected losses and which directly discriminates against the access to bank credit of the “risky” medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

How could Europe have allowed itself to fall in the hands of regulators who do not care about the real economy? And how can FT keep quite on this?