Public Values

Canada has world's best banking system

Never followed the deregulation fad, now Canada's "common-sense" system the envy of the industrialized world.

The good old, boring old Bank of CanadaFebruary 7, 2009 — The legendary editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, once held a "Boring Headline Contest" and decided that the winner was "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative." Twenty-two years later, the magazine was rescued from its economic troubles by a Canadian media company, which should have taught us Americans to be a bit more humble. Now there is even more striking evidence of Canada's virtues.

Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it's Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system the healthiest in the world. America's ranked 40th, Britain's 44th.

Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn't grown in size; the others have all shrunk.

So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense. Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers. Canadian banks are typically leveraged at 18 to 1 — compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1 and European banks at a frightening 61 to 1. . .

To read this article further, follow the link below. . .

To see a second opinion from Progressive Economics Forum, see the second link below. . .

Links and sources
  Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, by Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, February 7 2009
  Laughing All the Way to the err . . Bank, by Arun DuBois, The Progressive Economics Forum, February 14 2009

Posted: February 17, 2009

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