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TBTF or Maybe WT-?

posted by Stephen Lubben

So the financial industry got a surprising amount of press over their obviously ridiculous statement that too big to fail no longer exists. Thankfully most saw this for what it was.

If I announced that bankruptcy professors are underpaid would the press cover that too?

But the actual claim made in press release is pretty interesting and easily overlooked. The bankers assert

since the passage of Dodd-Frank, any cost of funding advantage has been dramatically reduced or even eliminated.  In fact, two recent studies conclude that markets are now imposing a cost of funding premium on large banks of up to 35 basis points.

Read closely, the first sentence means (a) "we still get a subsidy, just not so much as before" or (b) "somehow Dodd-Frank precisely eliminated our subsidy without going too far, who knew Congress could be so precise?"

Or perhaps the second sentence suggests that Congress was not so precise after all?  That is, does the funding premium (if it really exists – Bloomberg casts doubt on that) suggest the business model of TBTF is no longer viable ... oh dear, better not say that in the press release!


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