While Europe is sorting through Dexia’s assets, it is worth exploring Dexia’s fall in light of Basel III. As mentioned here previously, Dexia had been reporting Tier I capital of roughly 10%. Well done! That would clearly meet the proposed capital requirements to be phased in over the next year. So what went wrong?
Dexia had pursued a strategy of aiming to be the largest player in municipal financing. It owned gobs of sovereign debt. Down-grades and write-downs of that sovereign debt have now left Dexia well short of its Tier I capital requirements (to the tune of 1.7 billion Euros).
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