Credit turmoil set to benefit big banks

By Saskia Scholtes

Published: September 18 2007 23:54 | Last updated: September 18 2007 23:54

Large banks with big balance sheets and access to central bank liquidity could be poised to benefit from the recent turmoil in financial markets, says ratings agency Moody’s in a report on Wednesday.

As the crisis of confidence in credit has reduced access to cheap capital markets funding for non-bank participants such as hedge funds, the ratings agency argues that banks are set to play an increasingly important role as the much-needed distributors of central bank liquidity.

“Banks play a pivotal role, as they stand between the central bank and the rest of the financial system – the franchised distributors of the central bank’s vital product,” says Christopher Mahoney, vice-chairman at Moody’s.

The comment comes as international policymakers and regulators engage in increasingly heated debate over their response to the recent market turbulence, and whether banks should be granted a freer hand to allocate and distribute capital during times of stress.

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