#capital rules

22 08, 2023

FedFin on: GSIB Surcharge

2023-08-23T10:19:58-04:00August 22nd, 2023|The Vault|

As anticipated in the wake of recent bank failures, the FRB has proposed a significant revision to the current rules calculating systemic-risk scores that lead to GSIB designation.  These indicators are used not only for GSIB designation or a higher surcharge, but also for categorizing U.S. and foreign banks for other purposes and thus would also bring some banking organizations into categories subject to very strict prudential standards.  The Board estimates that the overall impact of the changes to the surcharge and risk-scoring methodology are small and, regardless, warranted to enhance systemic resilience and consistency.  It also estimates that the interaction of this new approach with certain liquidity and TLAC standards is generally minimal.  However, the Fed has not assessed the relationship of scoring revisions to one way to calculate the GSIB charges, nor does the Board assess the cumulative impact of all of the changes proposed here in concert with its sweeping revisions to U.S. capital rules for all banking organizations with assets over $100 billion.  It is also unclear how these changes in concert with all the others interact with the stress capital buffer applicable to large U.S.-domiciled banking organizations…

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

16 08, 2023

FedFin on: Market-Risk Capital Standards

2023-08-17T10:02:39-04:00August 16th, 2023|The Vault|

In this analysis, we turn to one of the costliest aspects of the proposed rewrite of U.S. regulatory-capital standards:  the market-risk framework.  This aspect of the proposal would significantly rewrite current U.S. market-risk rules to reflect the “fundamental review of the trading book” (FRTB) regime the Basel Committee crafted in 2018.  However, unlike the global rules, the U.S. approach would largely dispense with reliance on internal models in a manner generally consistent with the overall decision to eschew models; even where models are allowed for market risk, they are strictly constrained.  These standards thus would raise current market risk-based capital (MRBC) requirements by as much as seventy percent, with much of this falling on category I and II banks no longer allowed to use their current, largely models-based methodologies….

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

14 08, 2023

Karen Petrou: Why The Operational-Risk Capital Rules Make No Sense

2023-08-14T10:41:30-04:00August 14th, 2023|The Vault|

While there are many risks for which regulatory capital is a vital panacea, operational risk is not among them.  The proposed approach to these capital standards makes it still more clear that regulators don’t trust themselves or banks and thus deploy the only tool they seem to know – ever-higher capital – no matter the cost and, more important, the risk.  In fact, the best way to address operational risk is to spend money, not put it in a capital piggybank regulators can shake to hear coins rattle when they worry even though getting the coins out in a hurry will prove devilishly difficult.

The reason why regulatory capital doesn’t do diddly for operational-risk absorption is self-evident when one understands what constitutes operational risk.  It’s essentially what God does to banks (natural disasters), what people do to banks (fraud), and what banks do to themselves (fragile systems) and to others (endangering consumers or markets at ultimate legal cost).

None of these risks is meaningfully reduced with more capital and, even if it were, the way the new rules work frustrates the way it might.  As our in-depth analysis of the proposed operational risk-based capital (ORBC) rules makes clear, regulators want banks to look back as long as ten years to see how many operational losses they booked, measure business volume over the past three years, ramp up these sums via mysterious “scaling factors,” and then somehow discern what operational risk will be in coming years and how much shareholder …

10 08, 2023

FedFin on: Operational Risk-Based Capital Standards

2023-08-11T16:25:34-04:00August 10th, 2023|The Vault|

Noting that operational risk is present at all banks due to most activities, the U.S. regulatory-capital rewrite would end the current approach to operational risk-based capital (ORBC).  This now subjects only categories I and II banks to ORBC and then only to the advanced measurement approach (AMA) premised on each bank’s internal models.  Consistent with the overall decision to end internal-model reliance, this section of the proposal subjects categories I, II, III, and IV banks to a new operational-risk standardized approach (SA).  This would result in very steep capital requirements based on a bank’s experience over the past ten years compared to various sources of revenue over the past three years, perhaps taking business-model changes over the course of the last three years into account if regulatory standards are met for doing so….

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

8 08, 2023

FedFin on: Say It’s Simple

2023-08-09T14:19:41-04:00August 8th, 2023|The Vault|

Our most recent analysis of the inter-agency capital proposal focuses on significant changes to the rules for securitization and credit-risk transfer positions. In short, super-traditional securitizations have an easier path to the secondary market, but GSEs still beat banks. Complex ABS face often-formidable obstacles, as does CRT given or taken by banks.

The full report is available to subscription clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here.…

8 08, 2023

FedFin on: Equity and Securitization Capital Standards

2023-08-08T13:44:33-04:00August 8th, 2023|The Vault|

Based on our analysis of the inter-agency capital proposal’s framework and its credit-risk provisions, FedFin turns now to the proposed approach to equities as well as to that for securitization exposures (i.e., those that are tranched rather than simple secondary-market issuances of packages of loans or other assets backed as needed by a single credit enhancement). The proposal in some cases liberalizes the current, “general” standardized approach (SA), but more often toughens it to account for elimination of the advanced approach…

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

4 08, 2023

FedFin on: Credit-Risk Capital Rewrite

2023-08-04T13:41:04-04:00August 4th, 2023|The Vault|

In this report, we proceed from our assessment of the proposed regulatory capital framework to an analysis of the rules governing credit risk.  In addition to eliminating the advanced approach, the proposal imposes higher standards for some assets than under the old standardized approach (SA) via new “expanded” requirements.  As detailed here, many expanded risk weightings are higher than current requirements either due to specific risk-weighted assessments (RWAs) or definitions and additional restrictions.  This contributes to the added capital costs identified by the banking agencies in their impact assessment, suggesting that lower risk weightings in the expanded approach reflected the reduced risks described in the proposal for other assets and will ultimately have little bearing on regulatory-capital requirements and thus ….

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

31 07, 2023

Karen Petrou: Two Tenets of the Capital Proposal That Make No Sense No Matter How Much One Might Want to Love The Rest of It

2023-07-31T10:40:41-04:00July 31st, 2023|The Vault|

In the wake of the 1,089-page capital proposal, debate is waging on well-trod battlegrounds such as whether the new approach will dry up credit and thus stifle growth.  I’ve my own view on this, but my initial read of the proposal points to a still more fundamental issue:  some of it makes absolutely no sense even if one agrees with the agencies’ goals.  Here, I lay out two bedrock assumptions that contradict the rule’s express intent and will have adverse unintended consequences to boot.  God knows what lurks in the details.

The first “say what” in the sweeping rules results from the new “higher-of” construct.  Credit and operational -risk models are entirely gone and market-risk models are largely eviscerated.  Instead, big banks must hold the higher of the old, “general” standardized approach (SA) or the new, “expanded” SA.  Each of these requirements is set by the agencies – models mostly never allowed.  Further, a new “output floor” – different from Basel’s approach to this model’s constraint – is also mandated as yet another safety net preventing anyone gaining any advantage from any possible regulatory-capital arbitrage.

Why then not just demand that big banks use a standardized weighting the agencies think suffices?  Must banks be put through the burden of calculating two ratios when they have no ability to arbitrage requisite capital weights?  Do the agencies not even trust themselves to set capital standards that are now sometimes higher, sometimes lower as God gives them to know probability of default …

3 07, 2023

Karen Petrou: The Unintended Consequence Of Capital Hikes Isn’t Less Credit, It’s More Risk

2023-07-03T12:08:54-04:00July 3rd, 2023|The Vault|

As was evident throughout Chairman Powell’s most recent appearances before HFSC and Senate Banking, conflict between capital and credit availability characterizes what is to come of the “end-game” capital rules set for imminent release.  The trade-off is said to be between safer banks and a sound economy, but this is far too simple.  As we’ve seen over and over again as capital rules rise, credit availability stays the same or even increases.  What changes is who makes the loans and what happens to borrowers and the broader macro framework, which in the past has been irrevocably altered.  The real trade-off is thus between lending from banks and the stable financial intermediation this generally ensures and lending from nonbanks and the risks this raises not just to financial stability, but also to economic equality.

As post-2008 history makes clear, banks do not stop lending when capital requirements go up; they stop taking certain balance-sheet risks based on how the sum total of often-conflicting risk-based, leverage, and stress-test rules drives their numbers.  That all these rules push and pull banks in often-different directions is at long last known to the Fed based on Vice Chair Barr’s call for a “holistic review”.  Whether it plans to do anything about them and their adverse impact on the future of regulated financial intermediation remains to be seen.  Until something is done, banks will look across the spectrum of capital rules, spot the highest requirement, and then figure out how best to remain profitable …

24 04, 2023

Karen Petrou: The Price of Higher FDIC Protection and How to Prevent It

2023-04-24T10:40:22-04:00April 24th, 2023|The Vault|

Last week’s memo stirred up a lot of comment about ways to provide at least some private-sector deposit insurance.  The consensus is that, while nothing is easy about a private-sector backstop for federal coverage, the concept warrants careful consideration because all the other reform ideas on their own are still more problematic.  This isn’t just because proposals for expanded federal coverage – my own included – extend the federal safety net at resulting moral hazard.  In some cases, as I said, this risk is worth taking because some depositors warrant protection.  Still, there’s sure to be a price for more federal coverage – super-costly premiums and/or more bank regulation – that argue for market-based solutions to the greatest extent compatible with social welfare and stable finance.

This trade-off was most recently addressed last week by John Vickers, a former U.K. regulator.  Commenting on proposals across the pond akin to those in the U.S. to expand the sovereign deposit backstop, Mr. Vickers cautioned that added coverage should come with higher regulatory capital to ensure that banks do not take undue advantage of the comfy quilt into which the current, porous safety net would be transformed.

The U.K. deposit insurance system is different than that in the U.S., most notably by the absence of costly, ex ante bank premiums for the privilege of deposit-insurance coverage.  However, the U.S. risk-based premium system that sets bank premium payments is asset – not insured deposit – based.  As a result, coverage could go up considerably …

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