Monday, March 18, 2013

Capital not a lost cause?

Admati and Hellwig (my review here) (and fellow travelers) may be having some effect! From today's WSJ "Heard on the Street":
There is growing talk among regulators, for example, of forcing banks to issue a minimum amount of long-term debt, cap the size of their short-term liabilities or restrict activities that can be conducted within regulated bank subsidiaries.

At the same time, regulators seem to be focusing more on the need to pre-emptively address potential systemic risks.

Any such moves could further constrain banks' ability to juice returns through leverage while also limiting lucrative activities that fall outside a traditional lending function. That could subdue earnings growth already hampered by the superlow interest-rate environment.

The danger isn't lost on banks themselves. A number of banking groups recently joined together in a public attempt to rebut notions of a big-bank borrowing subsidy.”
OK, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Admati and Hellwig (and I) take a dim view of asset risk regulation and the chance that regulators have any hope of seeing bubbles emerge. But more capital, and more people understanding that leverage and TBTF is a subsidy to banks, so banks are forced to fight about it... that's progress.