Banks: The American Exception

Jamie Dimon is poised to win. In September, the president of the American bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. claimed that his country would not implement global regulatory standard Basel III and that he would dissociate from the new rules that he considered to be “anti-American.” He could very well make something of this. The Federal Reserve announced last Wednesday night that the entry of these higher standards into U.S. banks would be deferred. The extent is not yet known, but it is clear that the universality of Basel III is a dud. While Europe sheds light on the subject, the U.S. drags its feet.

If any proof were needed that Wall Street has not lost influence over Washington, despite the financial crisis of the century, here it is. The bankers of Uncle Sam are certainly far from returning to their pre-2007 splendor. It is clear, however, that their lobbying capacity has remained intact. Actually, that is what we had suspected for some time. The battle to reduce the scope of reform of American financial regulation — now the famous Dodd-Frank Act— has been outlined. The Volcker Rule, which restricts banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments, also remains scathed by this intense digging. At best, it is now certain that it will not be applied anytime soon — that is to say, by July 21. And again, no new deadline has been set.

So, it is a two-tier regulatory landscape that is emerging for the World Bank. U.S. institutions are laying down stricter rules than those in the past, but they are still much lighter than those that are going to be imposed on their European counterparts in terms of equity. It is in some ways a return to the situation that prevailed between 2004 and 2007. It’s an open door to some major arbitrary regulations for the most aggressive players, whether American or European. It’s also, and maybe most importantly, the death of ambition for real barriers against the excesses of finance that emerged after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, caused by a regulated financial system implemented on a global scale. As aggravating as it is, it is now the country that was part of the 2007 financial crisis that could ultimately preserve the most permissive rules.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply