Regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp went to Houston to…talk to…big banks like JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, even a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada about those banks’ allegedly risky loans to American oil and gas producers.
The regulators’ beef? Those loans are too risky. Something bad is going to happen; the regulators don’t know what it is, and they don’t care.
Never mind that the bankers know more about energy production than do the regulators. Never mind that the bankers know more about how to assess risk than do the regulators. Never mind that those loans are secured by the proven oil and gas reserves held by the borrowing producers.
Never mind, either, that of those four banks, the one with the largest exposure, JP Morgan, has only about 5.5% of its total loan portfolio in the form of loans to those producers—and like the other three, those loans are secured by those reserves.
Never mind, then, that if all of those producers went bust all at once, the losses would sting the banks a bit, but they wouldn’t seriously hurt them. Never mind, either, then, that even if those producers went bust all at once, their secured loans—those borrowings backed by their proven reserves—would be paid to a significant degree; the losses to the banks would not approach total.
No, President Barack Obama’s Progressive Big Government Knows Better. Facts aren’t necessary.
In the end, the regulators are right, though: something bad is going to happen. The regulators are going to close off those oil and gas producers’ access to credit, and with that, our nation’s access to cheap energy. The climatistas are rejoicing.