Are We Making Things Worse (Link fixed for now) Posted by: Lance
on Sunday, October 12, 2008
Yves Smith hits a theme I have been harping on (including on tonights podcast) the Federal Reserve, and central banks in general, are making things worse in may ways by destroying the incentive for banks to lend or borrow from one another. She quotes James Bianco of Arbor Research:
The Fed’s massive and numerous liquidity facilities are making things worse. The problem is more than banks unwilling to lend to each other, they are also unwilling to borrow from each other. Banks can get all the funding they need (and then some) from their central bank so they do not need to seek a loan from another bank. I believe it has gotten so bad that they don’t even bother to make a decent market for inter-bank loans anymore. No reason to, they don’t need them anymore as central banks have replaced them.
I would suggest more subtle factors should also be emphasized besides how this distorts rates on loans. If banks do not need each other then they don't communicate. Thus the hard work of investigating what counterparties real credit risk is goes undone. The market is shunting that off to governments. Furthermore, banks have no incentive to arrive at a believable accounting of their assets, they can wait and hope for a bailout rather than find a way or terms that other banks will accept.