ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Lending

The Future of the International Monetary Fund

Are our international financial institutions fit for the future? This is a question being asked at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Marrakesh. If one wants to think deeply about the IMF’s future, one need to go no further than to consider its past. Those assembled at Bretton Woods in 1944 were haunted by the memory of the beggar-thy-neighbour policies that contributed to the Great Depression and the march towards war. But much has passed since and ambition has been lost. Here are five things it could do today to make our international financial system better suited for an age of global shocks and crises, more symmetrical and better able to drive financial flows towards development.

 

Reviving the Lending Appetite of Banks

The flow of bank credit is crucial to revive the economy. The fear of potential asset quality woes has reduced the risk appetite of banks. Going beyond the restructuring support, banks need policy support by relaxations in prudential norms in the near term to be normalised in the next four–fi ve years. Coping with the adversities of the pandemic needs a collaborative policy support of all stakeholders to step up the lending appetite.

Concentration, Collusion and Corruption in India’s Banks

Why would companies, for whom costs rise with higher interest rates, choose to amass credit as interest rates rise? Were more and more loans taken with the understanding that default would be inevitable? Only a commission of inquiry with a specifi c mandate to understand the years of loose lending by banks in India can answer these and other uncomfortable questions. These answers are needed in the interest of securing our economy, and indeed our democracy.

Delinking Housing Cycles, Banking Crises, and Recession

The nexus of housing boom-busts, banking crises, and economic cycles is not unique to the last crisis and has been increasingly present in each of the major banking crises since the break-up of Bretton Woods in the early 1970s. Housing is a politically charged issue. A safer housing market, via planned fiscal intervention to steady supply, would do more to make the financial system safer than all of the other recent initiatives put together. Cheaper finance without cheaper homes only deepens housing inequality.