By Simon Johnson
In a column now running on Bloomberg, I review the new Inspector General report on what exactly happened during the “Citi Bailout Weekend” of late November 2008.
The big question lurking in the background is how acutely we face a problem of Too Big To Fail (TBTF) today, i.e., the perception in the credit markets that very big banks will be supported in a crisis, therefore enabling these banks to borrow more cheaply during a boom - and thus enabling them to become larger and increasing their debt relative to equity (leverage).
According to the report, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner now completely backs away from claims that the Dodd-Frank reform legislation ended TBTF.
Standard and Poor’s appears to be on the right track with their latest revised Bank Ratings methodology – presuming that “potential government support” is, going forward, always available to megabanks. This is exactly the conclusion of 13 Bankers. We should worry greatly about the implications.
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