The Bank of England is seeking to revive the market for asset-backed securities, the asset class widely denounced as “toxic sludge” for their role in causing the global financial crisis.
Sir Jon Cunliffe, on of the Bank’s deputy governors, said that with the right safeguards in place, asset-backed securities were a useful mechanism for lending.
Asset-backed securities, where mortgages, loans or other debts are bundled up and sold on to other investors, were used by almost every large bank before the financial crisis. But the device was tainted by spectacular failures, such as Northern Rock, which had sold mortgages to investors as asset-backed securities, as well as toxic securities made from US sub-prime mortgage loans that spread contagion through the financial system.
Securitisation is now back in vogue as it is seen as a cheap source of funding when many investors are still struggling to get credit.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Cunliffe said: “Securitisation is a mechanism, it could be exploited, it could be abused. And what happened in the financial crisis, particularly with assets originating in the US, is that it was exploited and abused and it spread risk, the so-called toxic assets through the system. But in the end securitisation is a just a mechanism for banks to make loans, to bundle up those loans and to be able to sell on those loans to other investors who want to be lending to real economy, to households, to businesses.”
He added: “We want to see if the market can develop standards and ways of doing this that actually deals with the risks … and can enable securitisation to happen in an beneficial way.”
via The Guardian