July 15, 2015

The “risky”, those who regulators deny fair access to bank credit, might welcome back Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Sir, Anne-Sylvaine Chassany writes about the possibilities of Dominique Strauss-Kahn entering politics again “The discreet redemption of Strauss-Kahn” July 14.

On October 7 2010, during a Civil Society Town Hall Meeting, I asked the then Managing Director of the IMF Strauss Kahn the following:

“Right now, when a bank lends money to a small business or an entrepreneur it needs to put up 5 TIMES more capital than when lending to a triple-A rated clients. When is the World Bank and the IMF speak out against such odious discrimination that affects development and job creation, for no good particular reason since bank and financial crisis have never occurred because of excessive investments or lending to clients perceived as risky?”

And Strauss-Kahn answered: "Well, the question about requirements, a couple of requirements for banks. You know, it's a very technical question and a very difficult one, but the way you asked the question, which is why there any kind of discrimination against SMEs is an interesting way of looking at that. In fact, there is no reason to have any kind of discrimination. The right thing for the Bank is to know whether or not their borrower is reliable, but you can be as reliable being a small enterprise than not reliable when you're a big company. So this kind of systematic discrimination has, in our view, no reason to be.

I have not been able to publicly obtain such a clear answer on the issue of how those who by being perceived as “risky”, are already naturally discriminated against by bankers, are now also odiously discriminated against by regulators. And so at least all the ex-ante perceived risky borrowers could welcome Strauss-Kahn’s return… as he might speak up for their rights of having a fair access to bank credit.

In case you want to view it, here is the link to the video of the conference. My question is in minute 47:35 and Dominique Strauss-Kahn's answer minute 1:01:05