I lost an 800-word post last night, and WordPress did not keep a backup as it usually does. Occasionally, I have also rescued posts by grabbing the post from the RSS feed, but the RSS feed was a blank as well. So, no post from last night. If it’s any consolation, a large part of the post dealt with the rating agencies, and my views are well-known there — most of the so-called solutions fail to serve the market as intended, because:
- ratings are needed for regulatory capital levels
- there is no concentrated interest to pay for ratings aside from the issuer
- sophisticated investors do their own analyses and ignore ratings
- creation of a public rating agency will suffer the same fate as the the NAIC SVO — if one thinks the analysts were weak at S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch, they were weaker at the NAIC SVO.
- regulators were asking the impossible of the rating agencies in asking them to rate immature securities that never been through a “bust” in the credit cycle.
- At the bust in the credit cycle, there is always some embarrassing error that causes the rating agencies to whipsaw. It may be CMBS today; it was ratings triggers and covenants in 2002.
- It is rough for anyone relying on ratings during the bust of the cycle, because the philosophy shifts from “ratings are made over a full credit cycle” to “ratings should last until lunchtime, maybe, uh, look the stock price is down 5%, post a downgrade.”
That’s why I think that most of the solutions will fail. The present system has its problems, but the problems are well-known and sophisticated investors know how to deal with them. New systems will have new problems that we don’t immediately know how to deal with, particularly if they don’t reflect the realities that I listed above.
Okay, there’s one-third of the post back, but I can’t remember the rest. I delete bookmarks after I do links, and Firefox does not send them to the recycle bin; they just disappear. Maybe I should do my posts in a word processor, and then post them at the end. Trouble is, when I do that, the formatting often doesn’t work out right.
Enough of my troubles. I do have one odd question for my readers before I close off here. Does anyone know of any financial institution actively lending to churches today? My congregation is in the midst of a building project. 10,000 minds are better than one, and I hope one of you has some knowledge here that I don’t.