Crude but credible

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Among the reams of reports published in the past year by regulators and political bodies to dissect the causes of the financial crisis and the responses needed, the suggestion of a leverage ratio has appeared repeatedly. In particular, rule-makers have pointed to heavy increases in assets relative to capital - commonly known as leverage - on bank balance sheets in recent years as one of the key causes of the current crisis.

Some regulatory bodies, including the Basel Committee on Banking

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