Are banks passive liquidity backstops? deposit rates and flows during the 2007-2009 crisis
Can banks maintain their advantage as liquidity providers when they are heavily exposed to a financial crisis? The standard argument - that banks can - hinges on deposit inflows that are seeking a safe haven and provide banks with a natural hedge to fund drawn credit lines and other commitments. We shed new light on this issue by studying the behavior of bank deposit rates and inflows during the 2007-09 crisis. Our results indicate that the role of the banking system as a stabilizing liquidity insurer is not one of the passive recipient, but of an active seeker, of deposits. We find that ...
How do global banks scramble for liquidity? Evidence from the asset-backed commercial paper freeze of 2007
We investigate how banks scrambled for liquidity following the asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) market freeze of August 2007 and its implications for corporate borrowing. Commercial banks in the United States raised dollar deposits and took advances from Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs), while foreign banks had limited access to such alternative dollar funding. Relative to before the ABCP freeze and relative to their non-dollar lending, foreign banks with ABCP exposure charged higher interest rates to corporations for dollar-denominated syndicated loans. The results point to a funding risk ...
Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting
Banks face two moral hazard problems: asset substitution by shareholders (e.g., making risky, negative net present value loans) and managerial rent seeking (e.g., investing in inefficient ?pet? projects or simply being lazy and uninnovative). The privately-optimal level of bank leverage is neither too low nor too high: It balances effi ciently the market discipline imposed by owners of risky debt on managerial rent-seeking against the asset-substitution induced at high levels of leverage. However, when correlated bank failures can impose significant social costs, regulators may bail out bank ...
A model of liquidity hoarding and term premia in inter-bank markets
Financial crises are associated with reduced volumes and extreme levels of rates for term inter-bank loans, reflected in the one-month and three-month Libor. We explain such stress by modeling leveraged banks? precautionary demand for liquidity. Asset shocks impair a bank?s ability to roll over debt because of agency problems associated with high leverage. In turn, banks hoard liquidity and decrease term lending as their rollover risk increases over the term of the loan. High levels of short-term leverage and illiquidity of assets lead to low volumes and high rates for term borrowing. In ...
Exorbitant Privilege? Quantitative Easing and the Bond Market Subsidy of Prospective Fallen Angels
We document capital misallocation in the U.S. investment-grade (IG) corporate bond market, driven by quantitative easing (QE). Prospective fallen angels—risky firms just above the IG rating cutoff—enjoyed subsidized bond financing since 2009, especially when the scale of QE purchases peaked and from IGfocused investors that held more securities purchased in QE programs. The benefitting firms used this privilege to fund risky acquisitions and increase market share, exploiting the sluggish adjustment of credit ratings in downgrading after M&A and adversely affecting competitors' employment ...
Systemic risk and deposit insurance premiums
Professor Viral Acharya of the London Business School and New York University collaborates with New York Fed economists Joo Santos and Tanju Yorulmazer to analyze various ways to incorporate systemic risk into deposit insurance premiums. Presented at "Central Bank Liquidity Tools and Perspectives on Regulatory Reform" a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, February 19-20, 2009.
Measuring systemic risk
We present a simple model of systemic risk and show how each financial institution?s contribution to systemic risk can be measured and priced. An institution?s contribution, denoted systemic expected shortfall (SES), is its propensity to be undercapitalized when the system as a whole is undercapitalized, which increases in its leverage, volatility, correlation, and tail-dependence. Institutions internalize their externality if they are ?taxed? based on their SES. Through several examples, we demonstrate empirically the ability of components of SES to predict emerging systemic risk during the ...
Which Dealers Borrowed from the Fed’s Lender-of-Last-Resort Facilities?
During the 2007-08 financial crisis, the Fed established lending facilities designed to improve market functioning by providing liquidity to nondepository financial institutions—the first lending targeted to this group since the 1930s. What was the financial condition of the dealers that borrowed from these facilities? Were they healthy institutions behaving opportunistically or were they genuinely distressed? In published research, we find that dealers in a weaker financial condition were more likely to participate than healthier ones and tended to borrow more. Our findings reinforce the ...
Robust capital regulation
Banks? leverage choices represent a delicate balancing act. Credit discipline argues for more leverage, while balance-sheet opacity and ease of asset substitution argue for less. Meanwhile, regulatory safety nets promote ex post financial stability, but also create perverse incentives for banks to engage in correlated asset choices and to hold little equity capital. As a way to cope with these distorted incentives, we outline a two-tier capital framework for banks. The first tier is a regular core capital requirement that helps deter excessive risk-taking incentives. The second tier, a novel ...
How Does Zombie Credit Affect Inflation? Lessons from Europe
Even after the unprecedented stimulus by central banks in Europe following the global financial crisis, Europe’s economic growth and inflation have remained depressed, consistently undershooting projections. In a striking resemblance to Japan’s “lost decades,” the European economy has been recently characterized by persistently low interest rates and the provision of cheap bank credit to impaired firms, or “zombie credit.” In this post, based on a recent staff report, we propose a “zombie credit channel” that links the rise of zombie credit to dis-inflationary pressures.