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Tags: bank | capital | requirement | recover

Huff Post's Gongloff: Higher Capital Requirements for Banks Won't Derail Recovery

By    |   Friday, 12 July 2013 08:15 AM

Bankers are warning that proposed increased in capital requirements would endanger the economy by crimping lending.

Don't buy it, writes Mark Gongloff of The Huffington Post.

Instead of capital requirements, the quality of borrowers, economic climate and other factors are more important in determining how much banks lend.

Editor's Note:
This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

Gongloff points to research from the economists.

"Many banks, including most of the large banks in the United States, are not even using all the funding they obtain from depositors to make loans," write Stanford finance professor Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig of the Max Planck Institute in a recent paper.

"If banks do not make loans, therefore, the problem is not a lack of funds nor an inability to raise more funds for profitable loans, but rather the banks' choices to focus on other investments instead."

Federal Reserve economists Jose Berrospide and Rochelle Edge agree. In a 2010 study, they stated: "While our empirical results suggest relatively modest effects of both capital shortfalls and capital ratios on loan growth, we find more important roles for other factors such as economic activity and increased perception of riskiness by banks."

That, they say, is because banks give less thought to their capital cushions and more to factors like loan demand and risk.

Larger capital requirements would provide banks larger cushions to help them continue lending through the next crisis, Gongloff argues. And they'd be less likely to need bailouts.

In addition, the larger capital requirements would be relatively small for the mega-banks. The eight largest banks would need to raise about $89 billion in total, which amounts to $2.25 billion per bank on average a year over five years.

"These are banks that on average have profits that exceed $4 billion per quarter, or $16 billion per year," notes Dennis Kelleher, CEO of the advocacy group Better Markets, Gongloff writes. "At most, it would impact profits less than 10 percent per year for each of the next five years. So the capital requirement is laughably low."

Banks also argue that higher capital requirements would also give U.S. banks a competitive disadvantage.

Don't buy that either.

"If some countries foolishly allow their banks to pursue very risky strategies and to borrow excessively," Admati and Hellwig write, "this is not a reason why other countries should do the same."

Concerns about the requirements decreasing lending are overblown, agrees Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum.

"My only complaint is that the requirements should be even stricter and should apply to even more banks," he writes.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

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FinanceNews
Bankers are warning that proposed increased in capital requirements would endanger the economy by crimping lending. Don't buy it, writes Mark Gongloff of The Huffington Post.
bank,capital,requirement,recover
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2013-15-12
Friday, 12 July 2013 08:15 AM
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