Bank Capital Regulation
Bank capital regulation is governed by the Basel Accords. The first set of Basel Accords were published in 1988, and the second set was promulgated in 2010 in response to the global financial crisis. These regulations require banks to have adequate capital to withstand potential losses and to avoid losing money due to capital dilution. The Basel Accords are an internationally-coordinated set of requirements for banks.
The United States Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve issued regulations that established minimum capital requirements for banks. The minimum capital requirements were initially based on bank size and risk, and the Federal Reserve later extended these regulations to the seventeen largest banks. The International Lending Supervision Act of 1983 explicitly required banks to adhere to capital requirements. The act was a response to a court ruling that ordered many banks to close their doors due to inadequate capital.
The Basel III regulations were designed with the particular needs of banks in mind, as well as the prevailing economic climate. The capital rules, however, are a constant regardless of the prevailing economic conditions. This means that they cannot be altered even if risks to the financial system change. A common attempt to inject cyclical variability into these regulations is the creation of a countercyclical capital buffer, which varies between zero and 2.5 percent of the bank’s total assets.
Although these regulations might be an acceptable short-term solution, it may be a short-term solution for regulators. In the medium and long-term, they could result in micro-management of banks. The reason for this is that they would prevent banks from making changes to their business plans that might lower their capital requirements.
As a result of the global financial crisis, banks’ capital requirements have increased, with few exceptions. However, the current regulatory climate may lead to further reductions in capital requirements. In the meantime, however, a higher capital requirement may reduce the risk appetite of banks. This can reduce competition in the financial sector and raise the cost of credit for consumers.
Regulations for bank capital are designed to protect the depositors. As a result, these regulations require banks to hold more capital, which helps stabilize the financial system and protect the public. However, a bank’s capital requirements can vary depending on its size. A small bank may be deemed a mid-tier bank, while a large bank can be a systemic institution.
Regulations for bank capital are designed to ensure that they are prudent and provide adequate protection for consumers, the government, and the economy. In addition, they are designed to keep firms well-capitalized to withstand unexpected events. They also ensure that they retain the flexibility to adjust their capital requirements as needed. As a result, they should be responsive to market-based indicators of bank solvency and clues about possible gaming in the system.
Bank capital regulation is one of the most important tools of financial regulators. In addition to improving the resilience of the financial system to climate risks, it also helps banks weather difficult financial periods and continue to provide essential services.