lunedì 12 aprile 2010

Se il mondo fosse un'agenzia ... le banche fallirebbero lo stesso...I rischi delle banche che giocano a fare gli hedge funds

Secondo Krugman un ingrediente indispensabile per evitare il ripetersi di una crisi finanziaria è la creazione di un'agenzia per la protezione dei consumatori:

...consumer protection is an essential element of reform. By all means, let’s limit the power of the big banks. But if we don’t also protect consumers from predatory lending, there are plenty of smaller players — both small banks and the nonbank “mortgage originators” responsible for many of the worst subprime abuses — that will step in and fill the gap. 

Quanto è difficile stabilire la fine di una recessione? 

L'incredibile storia del fallimento di Washington Mutual e di come i regolatori non si siano accorti della gravità della situazione serve di monito a chi pensa che sia possibile risolvere tutto creando nuove agenzie:

(...) The report found that Washington Mutual had failed primarily “because of management’s pursuit of a high-risk lending strategy that included liberal underwriting standards and inadequate risk controls.” The strategy accelerated in 2005 and came to a crashing end in 2007 with the drop in the housing market.
But the report also leveled unexpectedly sharp criticism at the F.D.I.C., which by July 2008 concluded that the bank needed $5 billion in capital to withstand future potential losses. The report said the F.D.I.C., which had questioned the Office of Thrift Supervision’s assessments of the bank’s soundness, could have stepped in earlier and acted as the primary regulator, but decided “it was easier to use moral suasion to attempt to convince the O.T.S. to change its rating.”(...)
Although regulators found problems with the quality of the mortgages it had originated and with the wholesale loans it bought through outside brokers and banks, the office consistently deemed WaMu “fundamentally sound,” giving it a rating of 2, the second-highest on a five-point scale used to assess a bank’s condition, from 2001-7. Moreover, the office relied on WaMu’s own tracking system to follow up on regulators’ findings. The office did not lower the rating to 3 (“exhibits some degree of supervisory concern”) until February 2008, and to 4 (“unsafe and unsound”) until September 2008, days before WaMu collapsed. “It is difficult to understand how O.T.S. continued to assign WaMu a composite 2 rating year after year,” the report found.
O.T.S. officials said the agency had accepted the findings; the F.D.I.C. said it could not comment until the report was completed.
The report said it would be “speculative to conclude that earlier and more forceful enforcement action would have prevented WaMu’s failure,” but also said such actions, if taken in 2006 or 2007, might have pushed managers to move aggressively to correct weaknesses and stem losses.
The report said the F.D.I.C. “met resistance” from the thrift supervisor when it assigned additional examiners to look at WaMu from 2005-8 and when it challenged the 2 rating in 2008.
In the summer of 2008, as WaMu teetered on the brink of failure, the two regulators still could not agree. “The O.T.S. as primary regulator wanted to rehabilitate WaMu and keep it in business,” the report states. “The F.D.I.C., on the other hand, as an insurer wanted to resolve the institution’s problems as soon as possible to maintain the value of WaMu in order to reduce the cost of any failure.”
The inspectors general, Eric M. Thorson of the Treasury and Jon T. Rymer of the F.D.I.C., concluded that the F.D.I.C. should make its own risk assessments of institutions large enough to pose significant risk to its insurance fund.
The chairman of the House panel holding this week’s hearings, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said in a statement that he hoped the hearings would inform the debate over changes in financial rules, which the Senate could take up as early as this week, after its return from a spring recess. Two former WaMu executives, Kerry K. Killinger and Stephen J. Rotella, are expected to testify Tuesday.
“The recent financial crisis was not a natural disaster; it was a manmade economic assault,” Mr. Levin said. “It will happen again unless we change the rules.”
The WaMu report could also influence the work of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by Congress to investigate the financial disaster. 

La crisi è così dura che persino gli stipendi dei professori universitari non crescono più (sigh...)

Nella caccia ai colpevoli della crisi finanziaria uno dei target preferiti degli uomini politici
sono gli hedge funds: peccato che pare che le cose non stiano proprio così....I pericoli sistemici maggiori vengono dalle banche e dalle assicurazioni, specialmente quelle banche e quelle assicurazioni che si divertono a giocare agli hedge funds.

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