Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is the mumbo jumbo that the Basel Committee bet our whole western world banking system on. Shame on it!

Here is the document which describes the risk-weight functions of Basel II


And these are the 3 papers referenced therein:




All put together, does not make any sense!

And on that the Basel Committee, and the Financial Stability Board bet our whole western world banking system. Shame on it! How could they?

And that same crazy risk-weighing function is still part of Basel III

I wonder who wrote that “Explanatory Note”. “The confidence level is fixed at 99.9%, i.e. an institution is expected to suffer losses that exceed its level of tier 1 and tier 2 capital on average once in a thousand years”. That must indeed be the Bank Regulator’s real New Clothes.

Come on Mario Draghi, Adair Turner, Mark Carney, Stefan Ingves, Michel Barnier, or anyone else involved with bank regulations... have a go at explaining it to us! I bet you do not understand it either... but your egos stop you from recognizing that.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is being consistent better than being right? Is the quest for consistency not just a cover up for mediocrity?

We read: “The members of the Financial Stability Board´s Regional Consultative Group for Europe were updated by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on the findings of the regulatory consistency assessment of risk-weighted assets for market risk and credit risk in banks’ portfolios, and shared national perspectives on regulatory consistency of risk weights.”

Of course we like consistency, but what is more important, that all these European countries are consistent in their assessment of risk-weighted assets for market risk and credit risk in banks’ portfolios, or that some in the group, could get it right, even if this meant acting inconsistently?

Has the biodiversity of opinions no longer any value? Is this quest for consistency not just a cover up for mediocrity?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Anything you distort I can distort better, I can distort anything better than you. Yes I can, yes I can, yes I can!

So sings the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision and the Financial Stability Board, while proceeding to distort all common sense out of how banks allocate credit in our real economy.

For this they concocted capital requirements based on the same ex ante perceived risks which were already being cleared for by the market.

And with this they made banks earn much much higher expected risk adjusted returns on equity on assets perceived as “absolutely safe” than on assets perceived as “risky”.

And with that they caused banks not to finance the risky future but only refinance the safer past.

And all for nothing, because that only doom banks to end up gasping for oxygen in dangerously overcrowded “absolutely safe havens”.

If they young would just look up from their iPads for a second, and understand what is being done to them, I would not like to be in the Great Distorters' shoes.


But she knew how to aim!

Friday, October 25, 2013

About banks, black donkeys and plain donkeys


There was a little town with a road on which some farmers in horse drawn carriages speeding along at 12.5 mph. sometimes suffered severe injuries when crashing into some of the black donkeys who roamed around the area. And the little town now wanted to prepare for the coming of speedy automobiles. 

But, before a town hall meeting could be held on the issue, Franz Basil, a local bully, presented regulations which stated: If a black donkey is seen, then the maximum speed allowed is 12.5 mph, but if there is no black donkey to be seen, 62.5 mph will be allowed. And to be absolutely sure about it, we are going to set up black donkey outlook outposts so as to rate the possibility there is one.

And since the proposal was immediately hailed as brilliant by some of Franz Basil´s comrade bullies, and some did not want to show they did not understand a iota about what he was talking about, and everyone was happy about a plan that offered the possibility of never ever more a black donkey incident, it was acclaimed, and some even discussed asking their king to knight Franz Basil.

For a while it looked as if all was going well, except for the fact that those who were allowed to drive at only 12.5 mph, were slowly driven off the road, “move over you slow stupid farmer”. 

But then, some weeks later, suddenly a real bloodbath resulted when a couple of vehicles driving at 62.5 mph smashed into some black donkeys.

One could hear the small weak voice of an old local farmer saying: “It had to happen, it was too silly to begin with, the crashing into black donkeys never ever occur when you see these, but only when you do not, for whatever reason, blinded by the sun, to dark to see, or just distracted thinking about coming home fast to your sweet wife. And who could think that those looking out for the black donkeys would not suffer of the same”.

But Franz Basil and his accolades, being the bullies they are, shut him up, offering the solution of allowing authorized speed differences to remain but now making certain that, at no point in time, the average speed of those driving on the road could be higher than 33.3 mph. And, again, understanding even less than before, no others said anything, but “Ah!” in awe.

And there the little town lays licking its wounds, just waiting for the next accident to occur and its farmers not being able to drive around.

But you may ask, “what about the plain donkeys?” Well I leave you to figure out who they are.


Data: The Basel Committee´s authorized speeds

Basel II risk weight for when there is perceived risk, “The Risky” is 100%, which on 8% basic capital requirement produces an authorized leverage of 12.5 to 1. 

Basel II risk weight for when there is no perceived risk, the AAAristocracy, is 20%, which on 8% basic capital requirement produces an authorized leverage of 62.5 to 1.

Basel III 3 percent leverage ratio is equivalent to a 33.3 to 1 average

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A regulator´s risk is totally different from a banker´s risk... and current bank regulators do not know this. God save us!

A banker has to believe he has appreciated the risks of assets and borrowers correctly, and covered for these adequately, in order to do his banking business. 

A bank regulator´s risk on the other hand, has nothing to do with the intrinsic risks of bank assets or borrowers, and all to do with whether the banker has been correct or not, in his appreciations of the risks, and if he has adjusted adequately his exposures to it.

And that is why it is so extremely silly of bank regulators to risk-weigh the capital requirements for banks based on the ex ante perceived risk of assets and borrowers, instead of setting a sufficient capital requirement to cover reasonably for the bankers committing mistakes.

And, if trying to do so, the regulator would very soon be able to understand that the assets or borrowers that really signify major dangers for the banks, are those assets that, when booked, were considered “absolutely safe”.

In other words, if risk-weighting, not for the bankers´ risks but for the regulators' risk, the capital requirements for what is perceived as “absolutely safe” should be higher than for what is perceived as “risky”.

And so currently bank regulators are with their risk weights not only distorting the allocation of bank credit to the real economy but, on top of it all, they are doing it in the totally wrong direction. God save us!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Now I am extremely worried

Holy Moly!

Is it that regulators, economists, even Nobel Prize winners, do not understand that… lower capital requirements for banks on some assets than others, means that banks will earn higher expected risk adjusted returns on some assets than others?

Have not anyone of these studied finance?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Worse than the high speed allowed trucks, is just that different speeds are allowed.

Anat Admati in “The Compelling Case for Stronger and More Effective Leverage Regulation in Banking” October 14, 2013, refers to “The speeding analogy” which appeared in hers and Martin Hellwig’s splendid book "The Bankers' new clothes"

“Imagine that trucks were allowed to drive faster than all other cars on the road even though they are the most dangerous. Further suppose that the trucking companies and the drivers are rewarded the faster they are able to make a delivery, benefit from subsidized insurance, and have a special safety system that protects the driver in case of accidents and explosions. The companies might produce narratives suggesting that their deliveries are essential and that the fast delivery is important for economic growth. They and others might produce models suggesting possible “tradeoffs” associated with a lower speed limit for the trucks. Whereas there probably are tradeoffs associated with trucks driving too slowly, it is clear that they are irrelevant, and there are no tradeoffs, when choosing between 90 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour for a truck carrying dangerous cargo in a residential neighborhood”

Admati is absolutely right, but, the danger of heavy trucks speeding too fast through our neighborhoods is only part of the conclusions that should be drawn from that analogy. More than the allowed speeds I have for many years argued that just allowing different vehicles, based on safety ratings, to be allowed to drive at different speeds (risk-weights) on the same streets, guarantees mayhem. Sooner or later those safety ratings, will either be captured by interested speeders, or simply be wrong; and besides these loony traffic regulations will make it more difficult for doctors, fire trucks and other vital essentials to arrive in time.


And that is of course why I give much more importance to eliminating the risk-weighting of the capital requirements for banks, than just increasing the basic capital required. In fact the more capital banks are asked to put up means that, while that is being taken cared off, the worse will be the effective discrimination against those who, even though they in fact pose no major risks for banks, have been castigated with the highest risk weights.

In the hands of self righteous, arrogant, dumb and unsupervised bank regulators, Europe is doomed.

Let there be no doubt. Basel II did the eurozone in, but, Basel III, is fundamentally still a perceived risk-based bank regulatory regime. All its new concoctions, like Leverage Ratio, Liquidity Coverage Ratio and Net Stable Funding Ratio are, admittedly, only backstops, supplements or complements.

And this means that banks will still be allowed to hold much less capital against loans to “The Infallible”, like to sovereigns, the housing sector and the AAAristocracy, than against loans to “The Risky”, like to medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

And that means, of course, banks will be making much higher expected risk-adjusted returns on equity when lending to The Infallible than when lending to The Risky.

And that means, of course, banks will not lend to the future, only refinance the past.

And that means, of course, Europe will not risk exploring sufficiently the new adventurous bays it needs in order to sustain a movement forward, and to create sturdy jobs for its youth, and will therefore die, gasping for oxygen, in dangerously overpopulated safe havens.

Europe, I cry for you. You have no idea of what you have gotten yourself into. Your banking system has been overtaken by what must be the stupidest risk-averse mentality, incapable of understanding the simple fact that what is perceived, ex ante, as “risky”, has never ever caused a major bank crisis, only what has been erroneously perceived as absolutely safe do that.

Europe, for your own sake, rid yourself of the false Pharisees in the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision and in the Financial Stability Board, as fast as you can!

God make us daring!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Basel Committee´s and the Financial Stability Board's loony concept of our risks with banks. God help us!

Basel II assigns a 150% risk weight to loans rated below BB- which, since the basic capital requirement in Basel II is 8 percent, means that a bank is required to hold 12 percent in capital (equity) against those loans… an authorized leverage of 8 to 1.

And Basel II assigns a risk weight of only 20% to loans rated AAA to AA which, with the same basic capital requirement of 8 percent, means that a bank is required to hold 1.6 percent in capital (equity) against those loans… an authorized leverage of 62.5 to 1.

Q: If you were a regulator, what would you think poses the greatest dangers for us with the banks, the possibility of their excessive exposure to something rated AAA to AA which turns out to be risky, or their “excessive” exposure to something rated BB- which turns out to be even more risky than that?

A: The first of course. There would be very few or no "excessive" exposures to anything rated below BB-. And, if so, the banks would have collected a lot of risk premiums too... which is also capital (equity).

You see, the Basel Committee’s risk weights measure the risks of the assets and the borrowers for the banks, but not the bank risks for us. You see, our and the bank regulators’ problems with banks, have absolutely nothing to do with banks and bankers getting it right, and absolutely all to do with banks and bankers, getting it wrong!

You understand it... but the members of the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board don't.

And that kind of unwise risk-weighting is still part of Basel III. In fact, more than five years after a crisis erupted, as a consequence of many assets perceived as safe turning very risky, and banks then having almost no capital against these assets, the basic principle of their faulty method of risk-weighting is not even discussed.

And much much less do the current regulators understand that capital requirements adjusted for "perceived" risk-weights, completely distorts the allocation of bank credit in the real economy.

And we have placed our banks in the hands of this kind of regulators. God help us!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Who are the rent extractors and who the rent payers of current bank regulations?

The pillar of current bank regulations is capital requirements for banks based on perceived risk, a.k.a. risk-weights. The more risk the more capital the much less “risk” the much less capital. 

That means that the rent extractors are:




1. The bankers, whose dream of making high equity return on what is perceived as “absolutely safe” has come through… that is of course until they discover the ex ante perceptions were, ex post, wrong.

2. "The Infallible": the "sovereigns, the housing sector and the AAAristocracy; namely those who will have much more access, in much better terms, to bank credit.

And that means that the rent squeezed payers are:



1. "The Risky”: medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and star ups, namely those who will have much less access and in much worse terms, to bank credit.

2. And of course all the unemployed youth who will find their possibilities in life to gain access to decent and sturdy jobs much reduced by this senseless regulatory risk aversion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our slowing hybrid real economy is running out of gas... and is in a shutdown mode!

Our economy is like a hybrid car. It accelerates using a motor fueled by risk taking, and then, playing it safe, breaking, it draws energy which it stores in a battery that can be used to further move forward, for a while.

Unfortunately, with current perceived risk-weighted capital requirements for banks, banks are not financing the future, only refinancing the past… and so we are running only on batteries, risking running out of all risk-taking!

In other words, our real economy has been placed, by dumb regulators, in a real shutdown mode.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Financial Stability Board is still without a clue of how banks best serve the needs of the real economy


It opens with:

“In Washington in 2008, the G20 committed to fundamental reform of the global financial system. The objectives were to correct the fault lines that led to the global financial crisis and to build a safer, more resilient source of finance to serve better the needs of the real economy.”

And it concludes with:

The completion and full, timely and consistent implementation of reforms will not only build more resilient national systems but also, by building confidence in each other’s commitments, support a more effective and open system. The result will be a resilient global financial system that serves an increasingly global real economy throughout the economic cycle, including the inevitable economic shocks. That system will best support the ultimate objective of strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth and job creation.

And the whole statements does not mention even once, much less recognizes it, the number one fault line which not only led directly to the financial crisis, but also impedes banks from serving the needs of the real economy and the creation of jobs.

And I refer, of course, to the so rotten pillar of the Basel Committee’s regulations, namely the risk-weighted bank capital requirements, those which lead banks to solely refinance the past and not finance the future.

These regulators, they just care about the banks, they do not care about the real economy.

God help us!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

With Basel II-III risk-weighted capital requirements, banks are not financing the future, only refinancing the past

The pillar of Basel II and Basel III bank regulations is capital requirements based on perceived risk. More-risk-more-capital and less-risk-less-capital.

That results in that banks can obtain much much higher risk-adjusted returns when lending to “The Infallible”, like some sovereigns, the housing sector and the AAAristocracy, than when lending to “The Risky”, like to medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

And that results in banks lending much more to the “safer” developed past, than to the “riskier” developing future.

And anyone who does not understand that, or fully understands that risk-taking is the oxygen of development, should, frankly, not be working at the World Bank, the world’s premier development bank.

On the risk of risk aversion, I spoke over and over again, as an Executive Director of the World Bank, 2002-2004. But no one wanted to listen, all were just too much in love with the illusion of the ‘never ever a bank crisis again’. And I can understand that, I come from a country, Venezuela, where citizens do believe, over and over again, crazy messianic promises.

And I protested during the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Developing at the United Nations too. But what weight could my small unknown voice carry, when drowned by all those Monday morning quarterbacks, like the Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz, complaining, ex post, about the excessive risk taking of banks.

And it is now more than five years since the bank crisis broke out, precisely because being caught with little capital and excessive exposures to some of “The Infallible”, like AAA rated securities, Icelandic banks, Greece, and real estate in Spain; and our real economy is suffering from the lack of access to bank credit of “The Risky”.

And yet, we still have to read important documents of the World Bank, like Chapter 6 in the World Development Report 2014, “The role of the financial system in managing risks”; and “Financing for Development Post-2015”, which do not even mention the criminal distortions produced by the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks. It makes you want to cry for all the unemployed young.. 

But perhaps there is a glimmer of hope. Professor Stiglitz in "The Changing of the Monetary Guard" in the “Annual Meetings Daily”, October 12, writes about regulations that "affects the supply and allocation of credit - a crucial determinant of macroeconomic activity", and that "Any serious candidate for Fed Chairman should understand the importance of good regulation and the need to return the US banking system to the business of providing credit, especially to ordinary Americans and small and medium sized businesses (that is, those who cannot raise money on the capital markets)”. And that “return”, might mean he, and perhaps some other, have finally understood what happened.

Let us pray that at least Janet Yellen does understand it, especially since those in the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board evidence they are still clueless.

What would I do? First we absolutely need to hold the regulators accountable. Fire them, Hollywood would never allow a Basel III to be directed by the same who produced a box-office flop like Basel II… and parade them down some avenues wearing dunce caps.

Then accept that the banking systems is so seriously under-capitalized, and distorted, that extraordinary measures need to be taken, carefully but urgently, Basel IV, if we are not to doom our young unemployed to become a lost generation.

PS. All risk management must begin by clearly identifying those risks we cannot afford not to take… and, in banking, we cannot afford the banks not to take the risks the real economy needs.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Are there intended “unintended consequences” of the Basel Committee’s bank regulations?

There I was as a civil society participant (don’t ask me what that means) during the World Bank and IMF meetings. Suddenly, on a screen, I saw announced a “Forum on the effects of Financial Regulatory Reforms on Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs). 

Since development and bank regulations is perhaps what I have most dedicated myself to over the last decade, completely pro-bono, I immediately went there. 

I announced that I was not registered, but the person attending said that did not matter, that I should write my name on a list, and I was given a folder. One hour later, because I had another scheduled appointment, I left, utterly depressed. What I regard as a monstrous mistake of Basel bank regulations, both for developed and the developing countries, was still not even on their radar screen.

You see, I have no respect for those who, with capital requirements for banks based on perceived risks, keep banks from financing the future my constituency needs, only in order to refinance the past.

But later, to my surprise, in the folder, I found a list with the emails of all the participants. And below is what I immediately wrote to them. Pardon some of the language, but I was truly upset. And I do hold them much responsible for the current sufferings of, for instance, the unemployed youth.


Are there intended “unintended consequences” of the Basel Committee’s bank regulations?

If you piss against the wind, and get wet, you might, theoretically, call that an unintended consequence, but, a sailor, even a drunk one, would just call that a dumb consequence of doing something stupid.

And if you allow banks to hold much less capital against what is ex ante perceived as “absolutely safe”, than what they need to hold against what is perceived as “risky”; banks will therefore make much more risk adjusted returns on their equity lending to the former than when lending to the latter. And the result HAS TO BE that you will get too much bank lending to “The Infallible”, like to sovereigns, housing sector and the AAAristocracy, and too little to “The Risky”, like to medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

And that, even though, theoretically, you might call it an unintended consequence, even a sailor, though perhaps not a very drunk one, would also call it a dumb consequence of doing something really stupid. 

Dumb, because major bank crises never result from too much lending to The Risky, these are always the consequence of too much lending to some of “The Infallible” which, ex post, turned out to be very risky.

Dumb, because it completely ignores the risk-taking the real economy needs, in order to grow and remain sturdy. The growth of an economy which is almost exclusively based on “safe assets” only leads to its obesity.

Dumb, because it increases the inequality gap between “The Infallible”, which usually includes more of the past, the old, the developed and the haves; and “The Risky”, mostly the future, the young, the not developed, the have-nots.

And so when the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board, more than five years after this crisis of “absolutely safes” blew up in its faces, do not even recognize that their regulations are dramatically distorting the allocation of bank credit in the real economy, you really must have to wonder whether some truly dark intended “unintended consequences” might lay behind all this.

PS. I am not a regulator but once, way back, I was a sailor… though not a drunk one… at least not too much… and so I do know something of what I am talking about.

Per Kurowski
A former Executive Director of the World Bank (2002-2004)
One who screamed and warned like no one about Basel II… to no avail

The two documents I saw referred to in the meeting are:
http://www.financialstabilityboard.org/publications/r_120619e.htm
http://www.financialstabilityboard.org/publications/r_130912.htm


Ms Bolivia...where I learned not to piss against the wind... 1966... 16 years old.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My question, for the umpteenth time, to the World Bank and IMF, at the Civil Society roundtable

And so the Civil Society Round Table took place, and I had the luck of being able to ask my question… again.

Mme Lagarde, Professor Jim Yong Kim minute 49:05 – 50:10

Never ever, have bank crises resulted from excessive exposures to "The Risky", these have always resulted, no exceptions, from excessive exposures to what was, ex ante, perceived as belonging to "The Infallible", but that, ex post, turned out to be very risky?

Nonetheless current regulations, allow banks to earn much much higher risk-adjusted returns on equity, on exposures to infallible sovereigns, to the housing sector and to the AAAristocracy, than on exposures to "The Risky".

And that means that the access to bank credit of medium and small companies, entreprenuers and start-ups, those who most need it, becomes severely impaired.

Why does the World Bank, and IMF, never speak out against this brutal distortion of the allocation of bank credit to the real economy... and which stops job creation.

Thanks

And I got answers, from both 

Mme Christine Lagarde minute 52:55 - 57:25

Not a bad answer at all, but, unfortunately, she expresses more concern about the risk weights not being correct than about the risk weighing creating distortions, even if the risk weights are absolutely correct.

Jim Yong Kim minute 57:25 - on a less direct answer.

The answers are probably the result of them having reached a point in their life, and their careers, where, subconsciously, they care immensely more about the health of banks than they do about the health of the real economy. Also, of course, they suffer from that Monday Morning Quarterback’s syndrome, which results from confusing ex ante perceptions, with ex post results.

I wish they would invite me to sit down and with just a pencil and one sheet of paper and 10 minutes, explain to them at what crossroad they and the bank regulators got lost.

And, as what could be seen among others from my formal written statements as an Executive Director of the World Bank, 2002-2004, while Basel II was being discussed, few, if any, can evidence so well being deserved listened too. Will this happen? I do not know. I just know there are many  too interested in that not happening.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

“The World Development Report 2014 - Risk and Opportunity”, seems to completely ignore what is dumb and dangerous with Basel Committee´s risk adverse bank regulations

In its introduction, Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, expresses his “hope that the WDR-2014 will lead to risk management policies that allow us to minimize the danger of future crisis and to seize every opportunity for development.”

Sir, though WDR 2014 will surely contribute importantly in many ways and in many areas, unfortunately, with respect to the "Financial Sector", it does little, or even nothing, to help to achieve those goals. This is so because it seems to completely ignore the absolutely mistaken principles of current bank regulations being disseminated around the world. With their dumb and dangerous risk-aversion, these regulations attempt directly against development and stability. More than manage risks, those regulations have generated enormous risks.

More than 10 years ago, April 2003, when commenting on The World Bank’s Strategic Framework 2004-06, in a written statement which I delivered as an Executive Director of the World Bank, I opined the following: 

"The Basel Committee dictates norms for the banking industry that might be of extreme importance for the world’s economic development. In its drive to impose more supervision and reduce vulnerabilities, there is a clear need for an external observer of stature to assure that there is an adequate equilibrium between risk-avoidance and the risk-taking needed to sustain growth. The World Bank seems to be the only suitable existing organization to assume such a role."

Unfortunately, the World Bank, or any other institution, did not assume such a role, and as a consequence we have landed ourselves with the most dumb and dangerous bank regulations possible.

Before explaining it, let me, just as a reference for why I deserve being listened to, point to a similar statement at the Board on October 19, 2004, and in which I so correctly and timely warned: 

We believe that much of the world’s financial markets are currently being dangerously overstretched though an exaggerated reliance on intrinsically weak financial models that are based on very short series of statistical evidence and very doubtful volatility assumptions.”

The pillar of the Basel Committee’s bank regulations, is capital requirements for banks based on ex ante perceived risks of borrowers. These allow banks to hold much much less capital against assets perceived as “absolutely safe”, “The Infallible”, than against assets perceived as belonging to “The Risky”. A more capable regulator, would be much more concerned about what bankers do with the risks they perceive, and with what happens when those ex ante perceptions, turn out, ex post, to have been wrong.

And those risk-weighted capital requirements result directly in that banks are able to earn much much higher risk adjusted returns on equity, when lending to some sovereigns, housing or the AAArisktocracy, than when lending to the medium and small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Something like rewarding children with chocolate cake when they eat ice cream, and punishing them with spinach when they eat broccoli... and declaring being surprised when kids turn out obese. And it is all like drastically changing the payouts on roulette bets, and believing the game of roulette will remain the same

And since the assessments of safeness and riskiness were to be done by very few human fallible credit rating agencies, on January 2003, in a letter published in the Financial Times, I also warned:

"Everyone knows that, sooner or later, the ratings issued by the credit agencies are just a new breed of systemic errors, about to be propagated at modern speeds. Friends, as it is, the world is tough enough.

And so those regulations doomed of course the banks to, sooner or later, create excessive and dangerous bank exposures to something that would have erroneously been considered as “absolutely safe”; like AAA rated securities backed with lousily awarded mortgages to the subprime sector, banks in Ireland, real estate in Spain, and sovereigns, like Greece. And doomed the banks to have especially little capital when the biggest disasters struck. It even did the eurozone in. Just a little empirical research on what causes bank crises, would have concluded that... never ever, those ex ante perceived as risky.

And, of course, that also doomed those who though “risky”, are the true dynamos of the real economy, and the best possible creators of the next generation of sturdy jobs, and who are those most in need of bank credit, to have their competitive access to bank credit severely curtailed. And that has effectively placed the economy in a shutdown mode… and whatever movement we might detect in it, might have to do with the sad fact that it is heading down down, on a very slippery slope.

And this truly odious regulatory discrimination is only helping to increase the gap between the past, the developed, the haves, and the future, the developing, the have nots. In other words it excludes more than it includes. WDR-2014 writes: “All too often risk management strategies prove ineffective (or introduce other risks) because they are not coordinated among all relevant policy stake holders”. Indeed! And I ask… who consulted bank regulations with “The Risky” borrowers?

But not one word about all that in WDR-2014!

The WDR-2014 does state though: “Stability. The Achilles’ heel of the financial system is its propensity for crisis”. And that is wrong! Its Achilles’ heel is the propensity to try to delay the crises. May 2003, at the World Bank in a workshop on bank regulations, I told those present

A regulation that regulates less, but is more active and trigger-happy, and treats a bank failure as something normal, as it should be, could be a much more effective regulation. The avoidance of a crisis, by any means, might strangely lead us to the one and only bank, therefore setting us up for the mother of all moral hazards—just to proceed later to the mother of all bank crises.” 

And the WDR-2014 does propose creating a "National Risk Board", "an integrated, permanent risk management agency that deals with multiple risks." That might have some advantages, but it also reminds me of why, in November 1999, I had to write in an Op Ed:

"The possible Big Bang that scares me the most is the one that could happen the day those genius bank regulators in Basel, playing Gods, manage to introduce a systemic error in the financial system, which will cause its total collapse"

Jim Yong Kim also writes: “This year’s WDR cautions that the greatest risk may be taking no risk at all”. And he is absolutely correct. But, unfortunately, the great institution he presides, the world’s premier development bank, seems not to fully understand that risk-taking is in fact the oxygen of development.

And, therefore, the World Bank has done nothing to stop the members of the Basel Committee, and of the Financial Stability Board, those who with so much hubris believe themselves capable of being the financial risk-managers of the world, from applying their so truly risky risk-adverse bank regulations.

Let me end by reminding you that these regulators, those who after the Basel II flop are still allowed to work on Basel III (neither Hollywood nor Bollywood would be so dumb), were the real enablers of our current bank crisis. If in doubt, just ask yourselves whether the market, in the absence of any bank regulations, would have allowed banks to leverage 50 to 1?

God make us daring! We need bankers capable of reasoned audacity! World Bank, step up to your duties!

Per Kurowski

PS. IMF is also completely disoriented by current bank regulations. They have for instance no idea of what would be the real market interest rates on public debt, for instance in the US, if banks needed to hold the same amount of capital against it, as they are required to hold against a loan to a citizen.

PS. I hear you. "Per, how can this be?" Well, Patrick Moynihan said “there are mistakes only PhDs can make; and George Orwell that “one has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.” But I personally think, this is the typical thing to happen, when the wish of not criticizing colleagues in ones networks, crosses the path of those not wanting to admit they do not understand one thing of the mumbo jumbo that is being said.