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 ...
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 ...
Zombie Credit and (Dis-)Inflation: Evidence from Europe
We show that “zombie credit”—cheap credit to impaired firms—has a disinflationary effect. By helping distressed firms to stay afloat, such credit creates excess production capacity, thereby putting downward pressure on product prices. Granular European data on inflation, firms, and banks confirm this mechanism. Industry-country pairs affected by a rise of zombie credit show lower firm entry and exit rates, markups, and product prices, as well as a misallocation of capital and labor, which results in lower productivity, investment, and value added. Without a rise in zombie credit, ...
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 ...
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 ...
Robust capital regulation
Regulators and markets can find the balance sheets of large financial institutions difficult to penetrate, and they are mindful of how undercapitalization can create incentives to take on excessive risk. This study proposes a novel framework for capital regulation that addresses banks' incentives to take on excessive risk and leverage. The framework consists of a special capital account in addition to a core capital requirement. The special account would accrue to a bank's shareholders as long as the bank is solvent, but would pass to the bank's regulators?rather than its creditors?if the ...
The effects of focus and diversification on bank risk and return: evidence from individual bank loan portfolios
We study empirically the effect of focus (specialization) vs. diversification on the return and the risk of banks using data from 105 Italian banks over the period 1993?1999. Specifically, we analyze the tradeoffs between (loan portfolio) focus and diversification using a unique data set that is able to identify individual bank loan exposures to different industries, to different sectors, and to different geographical regions. Our results are consistent with a theory that predicts a deterioration in bank monitoring quality at high levels of risk and a deterioration in bank monitoring quality ...
Measuring systemic risk
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.
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 ...