At the height of the financial crisis in 2008 the U.S. government forced some of the countries largest banks to take “bailout” funds amounting to billions of dollars in order to keep them from going bankrupt. It was a move designed to not only keep too-big-to-fail financial institutions afloat, but one that would inspire confidence and keep American consumers spending. As a result, the last several years have seen stock markets reach record highs with Americans continuing to rack up personal debt for real estate, vehicles, education, and consumer goods as if the financial crisis never happened.
But the purported recovery may not be everything that government officials and influential financial leaders have made it out to be.
Recent comments delivered by Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer suggest that not only are global and domestic economies still struggling, but the U.S. government itself is preparing financial contingency plans in anticipation of another widespread economic event.
However, this time around, according to Fischer, the government won’t be bailing out financial institutions in need of cash. Instead, failing banks will turn directly to their unsecured creditors when they need money. And within this context, that means you.
The recession that began in the United States in December 2007 ended in June 2009. But the Great Recession is a near-worldwide phenomenon, with the consequences of which many advanced economies continue to struggle. Its depth and breadth appear to have changed the economic environment in many ways and to have left the road ahead unclear.
Work on the use of the resolution mechanisms set out in the Dodd-Frank Act, based on the principle of a single point of entry–though less advanced than the work on capital and liquidity ratios–holds the promise of making it possible to resolve banks in difficulty at no direct cost to the taxpayer.
As part of this approach, the United States is preparing a proposal to require systemically important banks to issue bail-inable long-term debt that will enable insolvent banks to recapitalize themselves in resolution without calling on government funding–this cushion is known as a “gone concern” buffer.