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By Milne A.

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Extra resources for The fall of the house of credit

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Once bank balance sheets are repaired then the banks can return to their normal business of lending and taking deposits. This sounds straightforward, but it is far from being the medicine that cures all banking crises. The key practical problem is valuing the loans or other assets transferred into the proposed bad bank. Shareholder rights must be respected. If a bank remains under private control then its bad assets must be purchased voluntarily (or if there is compulsory purchase then shareholders must be compensated for the difference between the amount paid for the assets and their fair market value).

These are by Tobias Adrian and Hyun Song Shin, and by Anil Kashyap, Raghuram Rajan and Jeremy Stein. But individual authors can stress different aspects of the crisis at different times. com/sol3/papers. abstract_id=1139857) is one of the clearest statements available of how high levels of short-term borrowing can trigger funding problems, a key part of the ‘crisis of confidence’ interpretation of the crisis. The reason I refer to the first group of opinions as the mainstream view is not because it dominates professional debate (on my count it is actually the minority view of this banking crisis), but because it is this interpretation of the crisis that currently holds greatest sway with policymakers.

Bank portfolio strategies had assumed that the markets for structured credit products would always remain liquid, and hence that it was safe to finance portfolios of these products using short-term borrowing. But while banks individually were not exposed to liquidity risks, because Introduction 15 they could always sell down their portfolios to meet any withdrawal of funding or decline in net worth, this exposed the banking system as a whole to substantial liquidity risk. Beginning in summer 2007 the deterioration of credit fundamentals triggered a vicious circle of falling prices for structured credit products, forced sales and further withdrawals of short-term funding.

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