To prevent a housing crisis from bringing down banks that loan consumers money to buy houses, the authors suggest two things:
“And the question is how to absorb [losses]. Because one way to absorb them is by saying 'Even before prices become very high, can we dynamically regulate banks so that loan-to-value ratios have to be lower when prices are high. So there's more buffer in the loans of each individual person.”
A bank collapse could also be prevented by increasing the burden on creditors in the event of failure, Schoar said. One example, she said, might be providing safeguards such as contingent convertible bonds (known as CoCos) that would convert to equity in the event of impending bank failure, stabilizing a bank before bankruptcy can occur. CoCos are undergoing a test in the European markets, where volatility among banks is causing investor concern.Both measures will reduce moral hazard. With higher loan to value ratios, banks will have less incentive to make risky loans; and CoCo's will discourage risky loans as well because creditors (not the government loan-insurance programs) will have to absorb losses.