ATLANTA — Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Dennis Lockhart said Wednesday that over the near term, issues of systemic risk and too-big-to-fail banks are problems that will have to be managed, with fixes some time down the road.
"I doubt we can eliminate or legislate away too big to fail and systemic risk in the short term," Lockhart said in comments to close a conference held by his bank in Atlanta.
The official said "crises will re-occur" and events in Europe stemming from the Greek debt troubles "may have been a little bit of a reminder and wake up call to that effect." Increasing market instability and worries about other indebted European nations caused European authorities to put in place a $1 trillion bailout package. The Fed reopened currency swap lines to ensure the flow of dollars and to ward off financial instability.
Lockhart said that there's "no silver bullet" that will eliminate the risk some banks will grow so large as to upend the financial system when they run into trouble. He advocated in favor of a "mix of measures" including higher and better quality capital levels, better supervision, some separation between deposit taking banks and risky trading activities, along with improved coordination between international authorities.
Lockhart also warned "it's realistic to assume we can't achieve perfect symmetry between the public being at risk and private gain," meaning that banks will face persistent pressures to get involved with risky activities.