Una Alternativa para el Seguro de Depósito

El pánico financiero de Argentina y el atropello de sus bancos que le siguió, así como la crisis financiera de Asia en 1997, han forzado a numerosos países a considerar la posible adopción de esquemas de seguros de depósito para proteger los ahorros de sus ciudadanos. ¿Pero es el seguro de depósito la mejor defensa contra el pánico bancario?

El seguro de depósito fue una respuesta a las crisis bancarias del tipo que plagó a Estados Unidos (EEUU) hasta los años treinta. El primer esquema explícito fue introducido en EEUU después de la Gran Depresión e inicialmente pareció ser un éxito total. Los pánicos ya no ocurrieron más, lo que estabilizó al sistema financiero y contribuyó a un crecimiento económico sostenido en la postguerra.

El seguro de depósito se deshizo de los pánicos financieros porque los atropellos de los bancos son típicamente alentados por una profecía retroalimentada. Ocurren cuando los clientes de un banco tienen miedo de que la mayoría de los otros cuentahabientes retiren sus fondos. Puesto que los bancos dan servicio a sus clientes en base a la idea "quien llega primero es atendido primero", aquellos que esperan se arriesgan a quedarse con las manos vacías porque el banco se podría ver forzado a liquidar sus activos de largo plazo al enfrentar una pérdida, y quedarse sin recursos. Por lo que el miedo al pánico puede generar pánico. Esto es en extremo ineficiente pues mientras es individualmente racional que los cuentahabientes quieran su dinero de inmediato, el banco podría haber sido capaz de saldar las cuentas de todos si hubieran sido pacientes en conjunto.

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