We Agree on One Thing: Collusion is Illegal

“That’s a stupid question.”

Veteran banking analyst Dick Bove is clearly a big fan of my interviewing style.

That was just part of our heated exchange that lasted nearly 11 minutes. It took us that long to agree that collusion is illegal.

Our path to that agreement was not exactly a straight line. Bove started his answer to my first question with a question of his own. He wanted to know what I would have done had I been the chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis.

Would I, Bove asked, let the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) go up or would I look the other way while banks submitted potentially inaccurate rates? The premise of the question appeared to be the start of a classic “ends justify the means” argument.

Was Bove arguing that submitting inaccurate interest rates was justified if the economy benefited? That is what I wanted to know.

I’m still not sure what his answer is to that. I am, however, satisfied that we agree collusion is illegal.

The debate over whether it occurred rages on and hopefully our conversation adds something to that.