February 25, 2016

When you stress test lenders, why aren’t there any stress tests scenarios for borrowers?

Sir, Caroline Binham writes that “EBA outlines stress test scenarios for lenders” February 25.

And my immediate reaction is to remind you of that those stress tests do not include, in any way shape or form, an analysis about how banks could be stressing the real economy, with an inefficient allocation of bank credit.

Again, for umpteenth time, I have always argued that the number one social function of banks is not necessarily that of repaying whatever it owes, but allocating their credit as efficiently as possible to the real economy.

But the credit risk weighted capital requirements have made it impossible for banks to fulfill that social duty.

Dare ask: How many millions of small bank loans to SMEs and entrepreneurs, has the Basel Committee’s regulations impeded worldwide?

And so any sensible stress test of banks should not only consider what is on banks’ balance sheets but also what is absent.

And those comprehensive tests would evidence that banks are no longer finance the risky future, but only refinance the safer past.

Though I admit that conclusion might be to stressful for the great distorters, the bank regulators, to bear. 

@PerKurowski ©