Maybe We Can Learn Something From Canada

McClatchy points out:

Not a single Canadian bank failed during the Great Depression, and not a single one failed during the recent U.S. crisis now dubbed the Great Recession. Fewer than 1 percent of all Canadian mortgages are in arrears.


“This sounds very simple, but one of our CEOs has said we are in the business of making loans to people who will pay them back,” said Terry Campbell, vice president of policy for the Canadian Bankers Association in Ottawa.


Even so, there’s plenty to learn from Canada’s conservative — yes, conservative — regulatory regime. It requires more rigorous loan underwriting standards and much bigger set-asides by banks for potential losses during market downturns.

Medicynical Note: We can learn from their health care system as well. They have 100% of their population covered by insurance and spend half of what we do. (2006 data, trend persists today) More here. Their outcomes measured by life expectancy, infant mortality, etc are better than ours.

So we pay more, have less coverage and outcomes that are no better than elsewhere. Our non-system is the best in the world? For whom?

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