Le cercle vicieux de la confiance en la réglementation

CAMBRIDGE – A la fin du mois dernier, la Réserve fédérale publié les transcriptions des réunions du Federal Open Markets Committee (l'organe qui fixe la politique monétaire de la Fed) pour la période qui a précédé la crise financière de 2008.

Malheureusement trop d'articles sur ces transcriptions passent à côté du point essentiel. Le fait d'avoir critiqué la Fed d'avoir sous-estimé les dangers des rumeurs lointaines qui étaient alors sur le point d'exploser, donne l'impression que les intervenants se sont bel et bien trompés. En fait, sous-estimer un risque financier est un problème général : la règle et non l'exception.

Même après la faillite de la banque d'investissement Bear Stearns en mars 2008, les dirigeants de la Fed ont estimé que la structure institutionnelle était assez forte pour empêcher une crise. Le président de la Réserve fédérale de New York Timothy Geithner pensait que les banques avaient assez de capital pour supporter les pertes potentielles. De même, le vice-président de la Fed Donald Kohn a déclaré au Sénat américain que les pertes sur le marché hypothécaire ne mettraient pas en péril la viabilité bancaire. Fait révélateur, l'opinion des universitaires était similaire. « Trop gros pour faire faillite » n'était dès lors plus un gros problème, selon un leader d'opinion, car les règlements bancaires de la décennie précédente avaient rendu ce problème négligeable.

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