August 20, 2014

The squeeze between the leverage ratio, and the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks, intensifies the regulatory distortions.

Sir, Adam Posen opines that the Fed should “Keep rates low until the hidden jobless return to work” August 20.

I have not any strong opinions on where rates should be but, when Posen writes “After the global financial crisis, no one can dispute that central banks have to take financial stability into account when making policy”, then I must speak out again.

As I see it, it was precisely when trying to consider financial stability, and to that effect coming up with the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks, that regulators distorted the credit allocation of banks. And that made banks invest too much in safe assets, like for instance AAA rated securities, sovereigns like Greece, and real estate in Spain, causing a crisis; and way too little in lending to medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups, causing joblessness.

And so for me more important than anything on the interest rate front, is eliminating the distortions that are impeding job creators to have fair access to bank credit.

And the saddest part of it all is that none of the regulators, in US and in Europe, seem to understand that while they are prudently imposing a minimum floor of capital by means of a leverage ratio, the constraints imposed by the risk-weighted minimal capital roof, become more severe and the distortions intensify… something which really kills the creation of jobs.