Former Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen is worried about another financial crisis.
In a conversation with Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman at the CUNY Graduate Center Monday night, Yellen said, “I do worry we could have another financial crisis” though she said the core banking system now has more liquidity and quality capital since the last financial crisis.
“I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback.”
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Yellen said that regulators don’t necessarily “have the tools” to deal with emerging problems because of the “unfinished work” on new rulemaking, including those from Dodd-Frank legislation.
The former Fed chair, the only woman who has held that job, said she’s particularly concerned about “leveraged lending … corporate indebtedness” which is “quite high,” and CLOs, or collateralized loan obligations. CLOs are adjustable-rate loans to businesses that are pooled, securitized and sold to investors.
“Investors may not know how risky the loans are,” said Yellen. The loans are made to non-investment grade companies that don’t qualify for traditional bank loans.