Libor, the benchmark for 6 million U.S. mortgages and more than $350 trillion of derivatives and corporate bonds, has been called into question since the Bank for International Settlements said in March some lenders may have understated borrowing costs to keep from appearing like they are in financial straits.WSJ:
Rates quoted by Libor members show discrepancies and have little correlation with their costs of insuring debt from default. UBS AG, whose default-insurance costs rose 919 percent between July 2 and April 15 as it racked up $38 billion of writedowns and losses, quoted dollar-borrowing costs that were lower than its rivals on 85 percent of the days during that period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Banks routinely misstated borrowing costs to the British Bankers' Association to avoid the perception they faced difficulty raising funds as credit markets seized up, said Tim Bond, a strategist at Barclays Capital.
The Journal analysis indicates that Citigroup Inc., WestLB, HBOS PLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG are among the banks that have been reporting significantly lower borrowing costs for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, than what another market measure suggests they should be. Those five banks are members of a 16-bank panel that reports rates used to calculate Libor in dollars.