The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), based in Basel, Switzerland, is owned by 60 central banks for which it acts as a counterparty and trustee. It’s also hosting policy-making groups including the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Financial Stability Board and provides research and statistics. It released a new report today urging governments to force banks to admit losses and reinvent their business model to one that serves the public interest:
“Lenders, almost four years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., still hold overvalued assets and are postponing necessary recapitalizations while relying on official funding, especially in Europe, the BIS said in its annual report released today. Banks are also returning to risks akin to those that led to the crisis, it said, adding that governments need to put more pressure on them by enacting and enforcing new rules.
“Public policy must move banks to adopt business models that are less risky, more sustainable and more clearly in the public interest,” the BIS said in the report. “Governments can give the banking sector a healthy push in this direction if officials make sure that newly agreed regulations are implemented universally and without delay.”
The whole report is remarkably astute and clear in its call to action for reform and globally synchronized regulation and capital controls. See: Banks need “push” to avoid prolonging crisis. Also see direct link to video report here.