By Dimitris N. Chorafas (auth.)
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Extra resources for Banks, Bankers, and Bankruptcies under Crisis: Understanding Failures and Mergers during the Great Recession
Not only regulators but also shareholders should care about it as must debtholders who have now joined the hierarchy of unsecured creditors if a bank is liquidated. Hence the importance of a bigger equity cushion and of a sound liquidity ratio has increased significantly. 4. Should the Glass-Steagall Act Be Reintroduced? Gordon Brown, the British prime minister during the critical years of the economic and banking crisis that started in 2007, is allegedly proud of having led the world, in 2008, in understanding that the survival of the global financial system required the provision of an abundant amount of capital, and that the sovereign was the only secure source of that capital.
Basel III was supposed to bring into perspective the weaknesses of the banking system and bring a sense of responsibility to the banking industry by obliging credit institutions to hold capital commensurate to the risks they were taking. The softening of rules will let banks “increase” their liquidity with illiquid assets. There must be a reason for these changes that look irrational. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in the majority of Western nations the big banks’ management of capital adequacy and liquidity is in such a derelict state that the highly indebted governments were haunted by their own disorderly mountains of debt when they exercised inordinate pressure on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to both soften and delay the implementation of the new prudential norms.
To sustain an unprecedented situation, profits had to be steady. They were not. Though many LCBGs managed to survive with money they got from the sovereign, these handouts damaged the public finances. The IMF reckons that average government debt for the richer G20 countries will exceed 100 percent of GDP in 2014, up from 70 percent in 2000 and just 40 percent in 1980. 14 BANKS, BANKERS, AND BANKRUPTCIES UNDER CRISIS Critics have pointed out that the banking industry also failed its owners. The scale of wealth destruction for shareholders resembled that of the South Sea bubble.