Posts Tagged ‘Jeremiah Norton’

Prominent Role for Leverage Ratio in Capital Framework

Posted by Jeremiah O. Norton, Director, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, on Thursday February 28, 2013 at 9:41 am
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Editor’s Note: Jeremiah O. Norton is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This post is based on Director Norton’s recent remarks to the Florida Banker’s Association in Orlando, FL; the full text, including footnotes, is available here. The views expressed in this post are those of Director Norton and should not be attributed to the FDIC as a whole or any other members or staff.


As the banking industry emerges from the 2008 financial crisis, there is no question that it caused great strain on banks of all sizes. Hundreds of community banks failed, and the largest institutions were unable to continue operating without massive, unprecedented government intervention. This region in particular experienced the full impact of the crisis and the stress it placed on small institutions. A key ingredient in the market disruption was inadequate capital protection. Looking forward, it is important that the regulatory community arrive at a capital framework that is appropriate for the range and complexity of risks in today’s financial system.

As someone who served on the Treasury Department’s crisis response team in 2008, it became clear that the market was punishing firms and business models that took on too much risk without sufficient capitalization. Yet, upon returning recently to government service I have been surprised at what I see as a lack of progress towards constraining excessive leverage. Some policymakers point to advancements in the Basel III agreement, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which implements a global leverage ratio for the first time. However, I think that it is difficult to argue that achieving a Tier 1 leverage ratio of three percent my 2018 is significant reform, particularly as this leverage ratio requirement is not solely anchored in tangible common equity.

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