Taking the moral hazard out of banking: the next fundamental step in financial reform
The path between financial meltdown and moral hazard in banking is, at best, narrow and impervious. During the financial crisis, public support became the standard response to save the banks in difficulty, heightening and broadening the moral hazard issue: subordinated/senior debt holders and large depositors were bailed out and equity holders were partially sheltered. In the Eurozone, the implicit promise to bail-out governments in difficulty has encouraged SIFIs and other financial operators to speculate on the yield differential between sovereigns and the ECB money market interest rates. The policy framework proposed here is two-pronged: the EFSF should evolve to permit more flexible and wide-ranging interventions, and be able to manage sovereign debt restructuring; with respect to SIFIs, very early corporate, market and supervisory responses are suggested. Intervention of supervisory authorities with mandatory (special) powers would occur before the threshold of non-viability and, on a gone-concern basis, in terms of a European resolution procedure.
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