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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Working Paper Series
What Drives Bank Funding Spreads?
Thomas B. King
Kurt F. Lewis
Abstract

We use matched, bank-level panel data on Libor submissions and credit default swaps to decompose bank-funding spreads at several maturities into components reflecting counterparty credit risk and funding-market liquidity. To account for the possibility that banks may strategically misreport their funding rates in the Libor survey, we nest our decomposition within a model of the costs and benefits of lying. We find that Libor spreads typically consist mostly of a liquidity premium and that this premium declined at short maturities following Federal Reserve interventions in bank funding markets. At longer maturities, credit risk explains much of the time variation in Libor, reflecting in part fluctuations in the degree to which default risk is priced in the interbank market. Our results are consistent with banks both under- and over-reporting their funding costs during the crisis but suggest that the incidence of this behavior may have subsequently declined.


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Thomas B. King & Kurt F. Lewis, What Drives Bank Funding Spreads?, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper Series WP-2014-23, 13 Nov 2014.
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Keywords: LIBOR; liquidity; credit risk; misreporting
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