The Federal Reserve is easing up on those onerous reserve requirements which banks haven’t had to meet in decades.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday eased rules around how banks account for their supersafe assets, a move meant to boost the flow of credit to cash-strapped consumers and businesses during the coronavirus slowdown.
The Fed said it would exclude for one-year Treasurys and deposits held at the central bank from banks’ supplementary leverage ratio calculation. The ratio measures capital—funds that banks raise from investors, earn through profits and use to absorb losses—as a percentage of loans and other assets.
Big U.S. banks must maintain capital equal to at least 3% of all of their assets, including loans, investments and real estate. By holding banks to a minimum ratio, regulators effectively restrict them from making too many loans without increasing their capital levels.
The banks are sitting on giant stockpiles of cash, U.S. government debt and other safe assets. By tweaking how the ratio is calculated, the Fed is effectively trying to engineer a swap. Remove Treasurys and central bank deposits from the calculation, the thinking goes, and banks should be able to replace them in the asset pool with loans to consumers and businesses.
Hey, look! The little dog is tugging on that curtain! It’s only temporary, they say – just like income tax withholding! So, what are they planning? To help us borrow our way to prosperity? Or, just out of a gravity well of existing debt? This stuff is so transparent that they may have to move up football season to divert the normies. Oh, already planning that. Carry on!