WikiLeaks 17/03/2008 : « Le problème actuel est l’insolvabilité » des banques

par Patrice Naej
jeudi 30 décembre 2010

En mars 2008, six mois avant la crise, le gouverneur de la Banque d’Angleterre savait que les banques étaient en situation d’insolvabilité.

La méthode qu’il préconisait pour tenter de résoudre le problème, a été suivie à la lettre.

Un des télégrammes dévoilés par Wikileaks concerne la situation financière des banques au mois de mars 2008.

Soit six mois avant la crise financière de 2008.

Vous trouverez le document en question à la fin de ce billet.

Il révèle que le gouverneur de la Banque d'Angleterre, Mervyn King, savait que les banques étaient dans une situation d'insolvabilité certaine, pour ne pas dire totale.

Pour y remédier il prônait deux actions conjointes : tout cacher aux yeux du public, et refinancement des banques par les États.

PREMIÈRE ACTION  : Trouver des moyens pour que les banques puissent refourguer leur créances pourries sans que ça se sache.

Concrètement :
 - certainement pas au prix du marché, très proche de 0.
 - éviter que les banques demandent ouvertement de l'aide à leur Banque Centrale.
 - cacher à tout prix aux marchés (donc au public), le fait que les banques sont (étaient ?) en sérieuse difficulté.

SECONDE ACTION  : Recapitalisation des banques par les États.

Constituer un groupe de pression d'États "amis" : USA, UK, et Suisse.
Afin qu'ils incitent les autres États à re-capitaliser eux aussi les banques.

ÉPILOGUE  : Devinez quoi ?

Tout c'est passé comme prévu !

// --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wikileaks U.S. Embassy Cable
Monday, 17 March 2008, 18:27
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000797
EO 12958 DECL : 03/17/2018
Classified By : AMB RTUTTLE, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. Since last summer, the nature of the crisis in financial markets has changed. The problem is now not liquidity in the system but rather a question of systemic solvency, Bank of England (BOE) Governor Mervyn King said at a lunch meeting with Treasury Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt and Ambassador Tuttle. King said there are two imperatives. First to find ways for banks to avoid the stigma of selling unwanted paper at distressed prices or going to a central bank for assistance. Second to ensure there's a coordinated effort to possibly recapitalize the global banking system. For the first imperative, King suggested developing a pooling and auction process to unblock the large volume of financial investments for which there is currently no market. For the second imperative, King suggested that the U.S., UK, Switzerland, and perhaps Japan might form a temporary new group to jointly develop an effort to bring together sources of capital to recapitalize all major banks.
Systemic Insolvency Is Now The Problem
2. King said that liquidity is necessary but not sufficient in the current market crisis because the global banking system is undercapitalized due to being over leveraged. He said it is hard to look at the big four UK banks (Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC, and Lloyds TSB) and not think they need more capital. A coordinated effort among central banks and finance ministers may be needed to develop a plan to recapitalize the banking system.
Unblocking Illiquid Mortgage-Backed Securities
3. King said it is also imperative to find a way for banks to sell off unwanted illiquid securities, including mortgage backed securities, without resorting to sales at distressed valuations. He said sales at distressed values only serve to lower the floor to which banks must mark down their assets (mark to market), thereby forcing unwarranted additional write downs. He said we need to find an auction system where banks could move paper they want to sell without fear of stigma that the market views selling at a low price as a sign that a bank is in trouble. King said, however, he did not yet know how to structure such an auction and that further dialogue was needed. Kimmitt acknowledged the need to find ways to unblock these markets and said we should remain in touch bilaterally as well as in the G-7, the Financial Stability Forum, and the central banks.
A Possible Approach To Recapitalization
4. The G-7 is almost dysfunctional on an economic level, said King. Key economies are not included, especially those that have large and growing pools of capital. King said that a new international group was needed to address the issue. It could be a temporary group, and he suggested that perhaps the central banks and finance ministers of the U.S., the UK, and Switzerland could coordinate discussions with other countries that have large pools of capital, including sovereign wealth funds, about recycling dollars to recapitalize banks. King said Japan might not be included because it has little to offer. King noted, though that including the Japanese might force their hand in finally marking to market impaired assets. Kimmitt said that he was cautious about starting new groups in the international financial community because of the inevitable debate around whom to include.
5. The King proposals were not casual ideas developed in the course of luncheon conversation. It was clear that his principal objective in the meeting was to outline his outside-the-box thinking for Kimmitt. King included very few details about his proposals and was content to present broad concepts, thereby planting the seeds for future discussion. END COMMENT.
6. Participants : USG : Ambassador Robert Tuttle ; Deputy Secretary Kimmitt ; Eric Meyer, Office Director for Europe ;
SIPDIS Robert Saliterman, Spokesman, International Affairs, U.S. Treasury ; Warren Chane, ECONOFF. UK : Mervyn King, Governor, Bank of England ; Chris Salmon, Private Secretary.
7. Deputy Secretary Kimmitt has cleared this message.


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