November 04, 2014

Bank nannies decided banks should avoid risk and solely play it safe, and thought nothing bad would come of that

Sir, I refer to John Stroughair’s letter “Stress test assumptions were not particularly stressful” November 4. In it he writes:

“The current weights enshrined in the Basel formula, which give preferential treatment to sovereign debt and residential mortgages [to which I would add the AAAristocracy], may make sense at the individual bank level. But at the level of the banking system they lead to a gross misallocation of credit, in particular to the excessive holdings by banks of supposed risk-free sovereign debt and to the fact that less than 10 per cent of the loans made by UK banks support productive businesses.

What is needed is a genuine debate regarding how we can move forward to regulation that will mitigate systemic risk and possibly even nudge the industry to support gross domestic product growth rather than house price bubbles.”

As you understand from my more than 1.000 letters to you about precisely this issue and this concern, I wholeheartedly agree with Stroughair.

One day it is going to be clear for all what our bank regulators, with their risk aversion did to our economies and to our society

In real terms they acted similar to as if educators decided to evaluate children better for dedicating themselves to playing piano, only because they think that is safe, than for engaging in sports they perceive as risky… and thinking that our society would be better for that.