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09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]
09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]
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09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [After 10,000 generations, we are all mixed-race. So let's become friends with our cousins instead!]
READY, FIRE, AIM:
Basel III: Tightening The Noose On Credit
The Basel III capital requirements were ostensibly designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 banking collapse, but the new rules fail to address its real cause.
Originally posted on Ms. Brown's WebOfDebt.com website on August 16th, 2010
The stock market shot up on September 13, after new banking regulations were announced called Basel III. Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief. The megabanks, propped up by generous taxpayer bailouts, would have no trouble meeting the new capital requirements, which were lower than expected and would not be fully implemented until 2019. Only the local commercial banks, the ones already struggling to meet capital requirements, would be seriously challenged by the new rules. Unfortunately, these are the banks that make most of the loans to local businesses, which do most of the hiring and producing in the real economy.
Why Basel III Misses the Mark
Two years after the 2008 bailout, the economy continues to struggle with a lack of credit, the hallmark of recessions and depressions. Credit (or debt) is issued by banks and is the source of virtually all money today. When credit is not available, there is insufficient money to buy goods or pay salaries, so workers get laid off and businesses shut down, in a vicious spiral of debt and depression.
We are still trapped in that spiral today, despite massive “quantitative easing” (essentially money-printing) by the Federal Reserve. The money supply has continued to shrink in 2010 at an alarming rate. In an article in The Financial Times titled “US Money Supply Plunges at 1930s Pace as Obama Eyes Fresh Stimulus,” Ambrose Evans-Pritchard quoted Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research, who warned:
In a working paper called “Unconventional Monetary Policies: An Appraisal”, the Bank for International Settlements concurred with Professor Congdon. The authors said, “The main exogenous [external] constraint on the expansion of credit is minimum capital requirements.” (“Capital” means a bank’s own assets minus its liabilities, as distinguished from its “reserves,” which apply to deposits and can be borrowed from the Federal Reserve or from other banks.)
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is “the central bankers’ central bank” in Basel, Switzerland; and its Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) is responsible for setting capital standards globally. The BIS acknowledges that pressure on banks to meet heightened capital requirements is stagnating economic activity by stagnating credit. Yet in its new banking regulations called Basel III, the BCBS is raising capital requirements. Under the new rules, the mandatory reserve known as Tier 1 capital will be raised from 4 percent to 4.5 percent by 2013 and will reach 6 percent in 2019. Banks will also be required to keep an emergency reserve of 2.5 percent.
Why Is the BCBS Raising Capital Requirements When Existing Requirements Are Already Squeezing Credit?
Concerns about the credit-tightening effects of Basel III were reported in a September 13 Huffington Post article by Greg Keller and Frank Jordans, who wrote:
For smaller commercial banks and public sector banks (government-owned banks popular in Europe), the credit-constraining effects of Basel III are a serious problem. But larger banks, said Keller and Jordans, “were quick to praise the agreement and insisted they would meet the required reserves in time.” The larger banks were not worried, because “The largest U.S. banks are already in compliance with the higher capital standards demanded by Basel III, meaning their customers won't be directly affected.” Their customers, of course, are mainly large corporations. “Small businesses that rely on borrowing from community banks,” on the other hand, “may be more affected . . . . They will try to make up for the higher capital requirements by lending at higher rates and stiffer terms.”
If the big banks that brought you the current credit crisis can already meet the new requirements, what exactly does Basel III achieve, beyond shaking down their smaller competitors? As David Daven remarked in a September 13 article called “Biggest Banks Already Qualify Under Basel III Reforms”:
Punishing Your Local Bank for Wall Street’s Misdeeds
What precipitated the credit crisis and bank bailout of 2008 was not that the existing Basel II capital requirements were too low. It was that banks found a way around the rules by purchasing unregulated “insurance contracts” known as credit default swaps (CDS). The Basel II rules based capital requirements on how risky a bank’s loan book was, and banks could make their books look less risky by buying CDS. This “insurance,” however, proved to be a fraud when AIG, the major seller of CDS, went bankrupt on September 15, 2008. The bailout of the Wall Street banks caught in this derivative scheme followed.
The smaller local banks neither triggered the crisis nor got the bailout money. Yet it is they that will be affected by the new rules, and that effect could cripple local lending. Raising the capital requirements on the smaller banks seems so counterproductive that suspicious observers might wonder if something else is going on. Professor Carroll Quigley, an insider groomed by the international bankers, wrote in Tragedy and Hope in 1966 of the pivotal role played by the BIS in the grand scheme of his mentors:
The BIS has now become the apex of the system as Dr. Quigley foresaw, dictating rules that strengthen an international banking empire at the expense of smaller rivals and of economies generally. The big global bankers are one step closer to global dominance, steered by the invisible hand of their captains at the BIS. In a game that has been played by bankers for centuries, tightening credit in the ebbs of the “business cycle” creates waves of bankruptcies and foreclosures, allowing property to be snatched up at fire sale prices by financiers who not only saw the wave coming but actually precipitated it.
Ellen Brown wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Ellen developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how the Federal Reserve and "the money trust" have usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites are webofdebt.com, ellenbrown.com, and public-banking.com.
Ms. Brown's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on September 19, 2010.
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