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Economist-银行业竞争过多的风险需要更好的监管

(2009-07-02 14:25:23)
标签:

杂谈

Economics focus

经济焦点

 

Deliver us from competition

将我们从竞争中释放出来

 

Jun 25th 2009  2009年6月25日

From The Economist print edition

 

If competition in banking leads to too much risk-taking, the right remedy is better supervision

 

如果银行业的竞争会导致承担太多风险,解决的良策就是更好的监管

 

RICKY GERVAIS, a comedian, tells a story about an anxious flight. When informed that the airline no longer offered newspapers to passengers, in order to cut costs, he found it all too easy to imagine a maintenance worker inspecting the plane’s undercarriage and asking: “Do we really need all these rivets?”

 

喜剧演员瑞奇.热维斯(Ricky Gervais)讲了一个关于紧张的飞行旅程的故事。当他被告知航班为了压缩开支不再给乘客提供报纸之后,他发现他容易就联想到一个检修起落架的维修工人张口就问:“我们真的需要这么多铆钉吗?”

 

That firms which strive hard to sustain profits may act incautiously is a concern in many industries. The severity of today’s financial crisis is blamed by some on the pressure of competition on banks. There is a bulky academic literature that links liberalisation of markets with an increase in bank failures. It argues that the lifting of restraints, such as interest-rate caps on deposits or rules that prevent banks from operating in certain markets, leads to more intense competition. That is good for borrowers, but it also hurts banks’ profit margins by reducing the “franchise value” that comes from expected earnings.

 

竭力保持利润的公司可能鲁莽行事,这在很多行业中令人关注。目前金融危机的严峻形势部分归因于银行的竞争压力。有一大批学院派理论将市场自由化与银行破产的增加联系起来,这派理论称抑制的上升,例如规定存款的利息上限,或者禁止银行在某些市场运营,将导致更大的竞争。这对借款人是好的,但是通过缩减来自预期收入的“特许权价值”同时伤害了银行的利润率。

 

A diminished franchise is not only bad for shareholders. By reducing the stake that banks have in their own long-term survival it may make bank failures more likely. A bank that could look forward to a stream of fat profits in a sheltered market would be careful to lend prudently to avoid a bankruptcy that would destroy the franchise. But a bank earning only lean and uncertain margins on garden-variety loans may have little to lose by gambling on riskier ventures. If these paid off, the bank would benefit. If they did not, depositors or government would pick up the bill.

 

缩小的特许权不仅仅只对股东有坏处。通过缩减银行长期生存需要的地盘,可能引起更多的银行破产。能够期望在一个受保护的市场里获得丰厚利润的银行将很小心谨慎的贷款来避免可能破坏其特许权的破产。但是如果银行的收入仅依靠利润单薄且不稳定的普通贷款,那么他们在风险更高的冒险中赌一把也就不会失去太多。如果这些盈利了,那么银行就会从中受益。如果没有盈利,那么存款人或者政府将为此买单。

 

This theory is backed by some empirical work. Research published in the American Economic Review in 1990 found that a measure of franchise values fell after restrictions were lifted on where banks could operate. Banks that lost market power as a consequence also held less capital as a buffer against bankruptcy. A more recent study by Vicente Salas, of the University of Zaragoza, and Jesús Saurina, director of the Bank of Spain’s financial-stability wing, found the same pattern in Spanish banking. Fewer restrictions spurred competition, squeezed profit margins and led to more risk-taking by banks. (Not all the evidence points this way: though these studies of individual markets indicate that competition can lead to fragility, international comparisons suggest the opposite, according to a survey last year for the World Bank by Thorsten Beck, now of Tilburg University.)

 

这个理论由一些经验主义所支撑。在1990年出版的《美国经济研究》发现特许权价值这种措施在对银行能运营的地方加以更多限制时失败。因此失掉市场力的银行能够作为应对破产缓冲力的资金更少了。更近期一些由Zaragoza大学的Vicente Salas和西班牙银行的董事Jesus Saurina对金融稳定翼所做的研究发现在西班牙银行业有同样的模式。更少的限制导致了竞争、被压榨的利润,导致银行冒更多的风险(不是所有的证据都表明这一点,尽管这些对单个市场的研究表明竞争能够导致脆弱,根据去年由Thorsten Beck,目前的Tilburg University为世界银行所做的调查,国际间的比较所表明的正好相反。)

 

There is clearly some tension between financial-stability goals and the tenets of competition policy, which hold that oligopolies are inefficient and serve consumers badly. Nevertheless, many policymakers seem to think that some curbs on competition may be a price worth paying to improve stability. Australia’s banking system has come through the crisis intact, for example, and the former head of the country’s central bank, Ian Macfarlane, has said that one reason for this is that the biggest four banks were banned from merging. Freed from the fear of a takeover, bank executives did not have to chase profits as aggressively as their brethren in America or Britain. This may explain why the big four banks have not needed a government bail-out and have retained high credit ratings. Another case where an unchanging market structure has gone hand in hand with financial stability is Canada. It still has the same five big banks it had two decades ago and none has needed to draw on state support.

 

很明显在金融稳定目标和竞争原则之间有紧张之处,竞争原则认为供过于求是低效且对客户不好的。但是,许多政策制定者看起来在考虑遏制竞争可能是为了提高稳定值得付出的代价。例如澳大利亚的银行系统在危机中毫发无损,该国中央银行Ian Macfarlane银行的前任高层就说过理由之一是四家最大的银行被禁止兼并。没有被兼并的危险,银行的管理层就不会像他们在美国或者英国的同胞那样激进的追求利润。这可以解释为什么四大银行不需要政府的降落伞计划并且维持了高的信用评级。另一个例子说明不变的市场结构已经和金融的稳定性联系起来的是加拿大。它仍然拥有在二十年之前就有的五大银行,没有一家需要政府的支持。

 

Efficiency versus stability

 

效率与稳定的比较

 

The antitrust response is to say the problem is not too much competition but too little regulation. Trustbusters are rightly wary of special pleading on behalf of banking or other industries. A bank bankruptcy may be troublesome if it triggers other failures and

damages the whole payments and credit system. Yet there can be “systemic” problems in other competitive industries too. A food scare in one factory may prompt consumers to steer clear of similar products made by other firms, for example. But the remedy for worries about food safety is not to reduce competition but to regulate and enforce standards. So it should be in banking. Competition among airlines could in principle compromise passenger safety. That it does not is because of regulation. Setting Mr Gervais’s worries aside, it is rarely suggested that food firms or airlines are less safe because of too much competition.

 

反托拉斯者的回复是说问题不是过大的竞争而是太少的监管。反托拉斯者恰如其分的了解到了银行业或其他行业的特别诉求。一个银行破产如果引起其他的整个支付和信用系统的破产和损失将是棘手的。但是在其他的竞争行业也可能有系统性的问题。一个工厂的食品恐慌可能让消费者对其他公司生产的同类产品等同视之。但是对食品安全的补救措施并不是降低竞争,而是规范和强化标准。在银行界也是一样。航空公司的竞争在总体上可能危及乘客的安全,这不是因为规定。把热维斯先生的担忧放在一边,这确实表明食品公司或其他航空公司因为过度竞争而安全度下降。

 

There is another reason not to treat banking as a special case. One route to market power is size. Consumers find it costly, or are often reluctant, to switch between banks so an industry dominated by a handful of firms is unlikely to be competitive. If the franchise-value argument is correct that ought, at least, to yield stability. What’s more, bigger banks can diversify their earnings, which should further militate against failure. But a bank with sufficient market power would also be considered too big to fail, and would be rescued in the event of bankruptcy. Such knowledge can lead to excessive risk-taking and is one reason why Switzerland’s central bank has said the country’s two mega-banks may have to be cut down to size. Another idea in regulatory circles is to force big banks to hold a larger capital buffer than smaller ones.

 

还有另外一个作为特殊案例危害银行业的理由。获得市场力量的途径是规模。消费者会发现在银行之间更替很昂贵并且经常不愿意,所以一个由一些公司控制的一个行业通常不会是竞争的。如果特许权价值的论点是正确的,并且至少能够产生稳定,那个更大的银行能够多样化他们的收入,这可以更进一步抑制破产。但是一个有足够市场力量的银行可能会被认为太大了不能够破产,并且将在破产中被营救。这类认识可能导致过量的冒风险,并且是瑞士中央银行已经说过国家的两大银行可能必须削减规模的一个原因。关于监管圈的另一个理念是强迫大的银行比小的银行持有更大的资金缓冲器。

 

For finance to be stable, banks have to bear the costs of their risk-taking. A bank’s franchise value is one form of capital. It is lost forever if the bank fails and so is a guard against reckless gambling with deposits. The idea of bribing people to behave well (in this case, by letting banks enjoy market power) may be objectionable but is at least familiar. The theory of “efficiency wages” says that firms which cannot monitor workers’ efforts well should instead pay high wages to make it costlier for them to risk being sacked. But it would be far better to keep a closer eye on banks and force them to match their tangible capital with their risk-taking appetite. By making banks build reserves in good times and reducing their room to get around capital regimes, Spain’s regulators drew the right lesson. Where competition leads to more risk-taking, the correct response is to monitor banks more closely.

 

为了保持金融稳定,银行必须承担他们冒风险的成本。一个银行的特许权价值是其资产之一。如果银行破产了就永远失去了,并且是对用存款进行不计后果的赌博的保卫。给人们好处让他们行为良好的理念(在此处是让银行享受市场力量)可能是引起反感的,但是至少是常见的。“效率工资”理论指的是不能够很好的监控员工的努力程度的公司应该付高工资让他们不能承担被解雇的风险。但是最好是严密监控银行,强迫他们将他们的有形资产与其嗜风险的欲望相结合。通过让银行在好的时候建立储蓄量,并减少他们在资本系统中的空间,西班牙的执政者留下了很好的经验。当竞争让承担风险加剧时,正确的答复是更严密的监控银行。

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