Perhaps no one in the world knows international capital rules better than Stefan Walter, the secretary general of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The former New York Fed official took Basel's lead staff job five years ago and has played a key role in shaping the Basel III rules.

After my July 28 column suggesting the U.S. might want to quit the Basel process and simply write our own capital rules, the committee's press office suggested I might want to talk with Walter. I agreed. Who better to explain the rule's expected impact, detail its implementation hurdles and defend it against criticism?

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