"The banks we once worried about as too-big-to-fail are in many cases even bigger today"by George Magnus / February 1, 2016 / Leave a comment
The film, The Big Short, is in cinemas now—the timing of its release is spooky. Based on Michael Lewis’s 2010 book, it captures the culture of the years leading to the financial crisis of 2008, and reminds us that fraud, collusion and market abuse all thrived in an environment in which de-regulation had for many years been de rigueur. We still debate and argue who was to blame and why so few have been held to account, punished or incarcerated. But what about now?
The film’s arrival is so apposite because we have just been through a bad month in financial markets. To this can be added rising concerns over China’s economic slowdown and the consequences of a looming debt crisis; today’s Financial Times story that economists place a 20 per cent probability on another recession in the US this year; and chatter about a new financial crisis. “Surely, not again?” I hear you say, from behind the sofa.
The positive news is that banks are certainly less leveraged than they were in the build up to the financial crisis. The new focus is on their leverage ratio, or the amount of equity, or loss-absorbing, capital as…