A random sampling of the stupid.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

You'd think our leaders would understand finance

The financial crisis is all everybody seems to be talking about these days, and the buzzword of the month is "bailout". British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is no exception. With regards to his attitude, CNN reports:

Sarkozy said the economic crisis required a global response, but Brown said that no strong bank should be allowed to fail for lack of solvency.
I am speechless. How exactly do you define a bank as "strong" without including solvent? Many individuals (and likely some companies) are technically "insolvent"; all you need is more debt than assets. This doesn't drive you to bankruptcy necessarily, if you have a job to bring in income to service your debts, you may do fine.

But for a bank, solvency is critical. They make money off the spread between interest paid to depositors and paid by borrowers. The only way to re-achieve solvency in any reasonable time is through high-yield (re: high risk) lending. Many S&Ls tried this; it didn't go well. Or you can hope that the loans you wrote off will somehow magically increase again in value. That's likely.

If a bank is insolvent, it should be shut down.

Error rating: 6. Shouldn't be shut down for lack of solvency? Double You Tee EFF?!


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