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Collateralization of OTC Transactions: Risk Management Instrument

The collateralization of over-the-counter (OTC) transactions is a widely adopted method to mitigate credit risk associated with derivatives. Market participants increasingly utilize collateralization, particularly in transactions involving interest rate swaps and credit default swaps (CDS). However, currency swaps and commodity derivatives are less collateralized as they are commonly employed by non-financial companies, which show less inclination towards this type of risk protection. While collateralization can be viewed as a security measure, it primarily serves as a risk management tool.

Collateral and the Scale Considerations in Finance

The financial crisis revealed the significance of scale considerations in finance, where what may appear desirable to individuals, companies, or states might not necessarily align with the collective interest. Austerity measures and plans aimed at boosting growth may be perceived as austere and rigorous on an individual or institutional level, but their impact on the broader community can be complex. Similarly, measures such as restricting interbank loans, although seen as prudent management, may hinder deleveraging efforts and exacerbate recessionary pressures in the global economy. Collateralization also falls within this framework of scale considerations.

As uncertainty prevails, the desire to protect one’s assets seems natural, even though it may not directly contribute to the overall well-being of the community. Central banks, traditionally focused on price stability, are expanding their roles and accepting a broader range of securities as collateral for loans. The collateralization industry has emerged as a critical component of the financial system. However, increased requirements and scrutiny on collateral, including higher haircuts and demands for high-quality liquid assets, introduce operational risks and potential challenges for financial institutions.

Regulators are also emphasizing the need for banks to maintain high-quality liquid assets to address potential liquidity crises. While caution is important for safety, the increased focus on collateral and the shift away from riskier assets, such as junk bonds, raises questions about the guarantee of small savers’ deposits and whether collateralization itself may become a problematic issue. Some argue for a reevaluation of unsecured loans and a return to “normal” risk-taking as potential alternatives.

Regarding Eurobonds and their impact on economic growth, each state must consider making concessions for the benefit of the community. The European Investment Bank is exploring the possibility of a capital increase to support growth efforts and enhance lending capacities. Ultimately, the assessment of collateralization and other financial measures requires careful consideration of their implications on various scales, from individual entities to the broader community.