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THE DRAWBRIDGE MENTALITY, by François Leclerc

Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

A united front of German banks has opened up, refusing any kind of interference from a supervisory body – in this case the ECB – due to their little idiosyncrasies and their little hidden frailties, but also the risk of being made to contribute via a European fund to the saving of other countries’ establishments. The savings banks, mutuals and regional banks (Landesbanken) which comprise it represent 70% of the deposits held in Germany.

Talking of deposits, the prospect of a separation of deposit activities from speculative activities has also caused a general outcry, this time from the ranks of the all-purpose (universal) banks. All of them would like to see the deadline for the reinforcement of their capital base, required by the Basel III agreement, put back. It would be impossible to list – with all the open files, including some only just opened, or even quickly closed again – the extent to which the financial establishments are successfully digging in their heels at the rather half-hearted attempts to rein them in, regulate and reinforce them. They want to remain the masters of their own destiny.

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