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The Rocky Road to Implementation of Basel II in the United States


  • Richard Herring



This paper contends that the problems US officials have encountered in their efforts to implement Basel II reflect inherent weaknesses in the structure of the approach. It begins with a brief overview of the original Basel Accord on Capital Adequacy (Basel I) and a summary of the Basel II approach, with emphasis on the Pillar I weights for credit risk. Next an analysis of the Fed’s bifurcated approach to implementation of Basel II is followed by an examination of three unanticipated obstacles: (1) perceived competitive inequities within the USA; (2) the surprisingly lower and variable capital charges revealed in the fourth quantitative impact study; and (3) the request by four leading banks for permission to implement the simpler, Standardized Approach rather than the Advanced Internal Ratings Approach (A-IRB). These reflect the erosion of several crucial predeal understandings as described by Kane (J Financ Serv Res 32(1):39–53, 2007a). The paper concludes with a consideration of whether it may have been possible to achieve equivalent improvements in risk management with lower compliance costs and less uncertainty about the impact on financial stability. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Herring, 2007. "The Rocky Road to Implementation of Basel II in the United States," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(4), pages 411-429, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:35:y:2007:i:4:p:411-429
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-007-9094-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy H. Hannan & Steven J. Pilloff, 2004. "Will the proposed application of Basel II in the United States encourage increased bank merger activity? evidence from past merger activity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Herring, Richard J., 2004. "The subordinated debt alternative to Basel II," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 137-155, December.
    3. Carey, Mark, 2002. "A guide to choosing absolute bank capital requirements," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 929-951, May.
    4. Allen Berger, 2006. "Potential Competitive Effects of Basel II on Banks in SME Credit Markets in the United States," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 29(1), pages 5-36, February.
    5. Paul S. Calem & James R. Follain, 2003. "The asset-correlation parameter in Basel II for mortgages on single-family residences," Basel II White Paper 5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Diana Hancock & Andreas Lehnert & Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund, 2006. "The competitive effects of risk-based bank capital regulation: an example from U.S. mortgage markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Mark S. Carey, 2002. "A guide to choosing absolute bank capital requirements," International Finance Discussion Papers 726, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Edward Kane, 2007. "Connecting National Safety Nets: The Dialectics of the Basel II Contracting Process," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(4), pages 399-409, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sambracos, Evangelos & Maniati, Marina, 2015. "Analysis of Financial Crisis Results on Dry Bulk Market & Financing," MPRA Paper 68601, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:ipf:finteo:v:39:y:2015:i:3:p:139-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ngwu, Franklin N. & Chen, Zheyang, 2016. "Regulation of securitisation in China: Learning from the US experience," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 477-488.
    4. Hamadi, Malika & Heinen, Andréas & Linder, Stefan & Porumb, Vlad-Andrei, 2016. "Does Basel II affect the market valuation of discretionary loan loss provisions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 177-192.
    5. Herring, Richard J., 2016. "Less Really Can Be More: Why Simplicity and Comparability Should be Regulatory Objectives," Working Papers 16-08, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    6. Ana Paula Matias Gama & Helena Susana Amaral Geraldes, 2012. "Credit risk assessment and the impact of the New Basel Capital Accord on small and medium-sized enterprises: An empirical analysis," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(8), pages 727-749, July.
    7. Ana Kundid Novokmet, 2015. "Cyclicality of bank capital buffers in South-Eastern Europe: endogenous and exogenous aspects," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 39(2), pages 139-169.
    8. Beatty, Anne & Liao, Scott, 2014. "Financial accounting in the banking industry: A review of the empirical literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 339-383.

    More about this item


    Basel II; Capital regulation; Competitive equity; G228; G20;

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General


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