Original source: SimoleonSense.com .
Mculley likes Minsky so much he wrote a chapter in the CFA level 2 books on the related subject matter…
Excerpts (via Pimco)
The essence, or the genius of banking, not just now, the last century or the century before that, but since time immemorial, is that the public’s ex-ante demand for assets that trade on demand at par is greater than the public’s ex-post demand for these types of assets. Let me repeat this, because this is a first principle: The public’s ex-ante demand for liquidity at par is greater than the public’s ex-post demand. Therefore, we can have banking systems because they can meet the ex-ante demand, but never have to pony up ex-post. In turn, the essence or the genius of banking is maturity, liquidity and quality transformation: holding assets that are longer, less liquid and of lower quality than the funding liabilities.
A second principle: A banking system is solvent only if it is believed by the public to be a going concern. By definition, if the public’s ex-post demand for liquidity at par proves to be equal to its ex-ante demand, a banking system is insolvent because a banking system ends up, at its core, promising something it cannot deliver. Everyone following me here?
Banking is a really profitable business. In its most simple form, think in terms of a bank issuing demand deposits, which are guaranteed to trade at par because they’ve got FDIC insurance around them and also because the issuing bank can rediscount its assets at the Fed in order to redeem deposits in old-fashioned money, also known as currency.
The birth of the Shadow Banking System required that capitalists be able to come up with an asset – which actually for shadow bankers is a liability – that was perceived by the public as just as good as a bank deposit. Remember, the public has an ex-ante demand for something that trades on demand at par. Therefore, shadow bankers had to be able to persuade the public that its asset – which is actually the shadow banker’s liability – was just as good as the real thing. If they could do that, then they could have one whale of a good time.
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