El ciclo de la confianza regulatoria

CAMBRIDGE – Al final del mes pasado, la Reserva Federal hizo públicas las transcripciones de las reuniones del Comité para las Operaciones de Mercado Abierto de la Reserva Federal (el organismo que fija la política monetaria de esta última) en el período inmediatamente anterior a la crisis financiera de 2008.

Lamentablemente, demasiados informes sobre las transcripciones no han entendido el panorama general. Criticar a la Reserva Federal por subestimar los peligros subterráneos que estaban a punto de estallar hace que parezca que algunos protagonistas se equivocaron. En realidad, el de subestimar el riesgo financiero es un problema general: es la regla, no la excepción.

Incluso después de que el banco de inversión Bear Stears quebrara en marzo de 2008, los dirigentes de la Reserva Federal creyeron que la estructura institucional era lo bastante fuerte para prevenir una crisis. El Presidente de la Reserva Federal de Nueva York, Timothy Geithner, pensó que los bancos tenían capital suficiente para soportar las posibles pérdidas. Asimismo, el Vicepresidente de la Reserva Federal, Donald Kohn, dijo al Senado de los Estados Unidos que las pérdidas en el mercado hipotecario no amenazarían la viabilidad bancaria. Resulta significativo que  la opinión de los expertos del mundo académico fuera similar. Según la opinión predominante, lo de que hubiera bancos demasiado grandes para quebrar había dejado de ser un problema, pues la legislación bancaria del decenio anterior permitía no abrigar preocupación al respecto.

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