¿El fin de los bancos?

BARCELONA ­– ¿Los bancos están condenados al fracaso como resultado de la actual crisis financiera? La securitización de las hipotecas originariamente era vista como un triunfo, porque desviaba el riesgo a los mercados financieros, mientras que tomar depósitos y otorgar y monitorear préstamos –la competencia de los bancos tradicionales- era considerado algo limitado y anticuado. Por el contrario, los bancos modernos buscaban financiamiento principalmente en el mercado interbancario y securitizaban sus carteras de préstamos.

En teoría, estos bancos deberían ser inmunes a las corridas, porque se supone que el mercado interbancario es extremadamente eficiente, y el riesgo se trasladaría a los inversores dispuestos a asumirlo. Los depósitos serían reemplazados por los fondos mutuos que, como sabemos, también son inmunes a las corridas, y las agencias de calificación evaluarían con precisión el riesgo de los vehículos estructurados de inversión (SIV, tal su sigla en inglés). Toda esta ingeniería financiera evitaría los obsoletos requerimientos de capital que sobrecargan la operación de los bancos.

La crisis actual echó por tierra este escenario optimista. El mercado interbancario prácticamente colapsó, porque los bancos no confían entre sí de la misma manera que tendemos a no confiar en un vendedor ansioso de un auto usado.

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