Recent proposals to revise the Basel Accord, the 11-year-old multinational agreement that established a framework for global banking regulation, create a historic opportunity for bankers to help reshape their regulatory environment for years to come. We need to begin now to work aggressively with regulators to ensure that this work produces a risk-based capital framework as modern and responsive as the financial services industry has become.
Frankly, much work needs to be done. The accord of 1988 was a welcome step forward, establishing more consistent capital requirements for banks worldwide and reducing a competitive disadvantage for U.S. banks. But even as it leveled the playing field for the world's banks, it tilted the field against banks in some of the highest-quality lending markets. In fact, it created incentives for banks to shift their lending down the asset-quality curve, counter to the goal of safety and soundness.