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Author:Agarwal, Sumit 

Working Paper
Market-based loss mitigation practices for troubled mortgages following the financial crisis

The meltdown in residential real-estate prices that commenced in 2006 resulted in unprecedented mortgage delinquency rates. Until mid-2009, lenders and servicers pursued their own individual loss mitigation practices without being significantly influenced by government intervention. Using a unique dataset that precisely identifies loss mitigation actions, we study these methods?liquidation, repayment plans, loan modification, and refinancing?and analyze their effectiveness. We show that the majority of delinquent mortgages do not enter any loss mitigation program or become a part of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2011-03

Working Paper
Do consumers choose the right credit contracts?

A number of studies have pointed to various mistakes that consumers might make in their consumption-saving and financial decisions. We utilize a unique market experiment conducted by a large U.S. bank to assess how systematic and costly such mistakes are in practice. The bank offered consumers a choice between two credit card contracts, one with an annual fee but a lower interest rate and one with no annual fee but a higher interest rate. To minimize their total interest costs net of the fee, consumers expecting to borrow a sufficiently large amount should choose the contract with the fee, ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-06-11

Working Paper
Why do banks reward their customers to use their credit cards?

Using a unique administrative level dataset from a large and diverse U.S. financial institution, we test the impact of rewards on credit card spending and debt. Specifically, we study the impact of cash-back rewards on individuals before and during their enrollment in the program. We find that with an average cash-back reward of $25, spending and debt increases by $79 and $191 a month, respectively during the first quarter. Furthermore, we find that cardholders who do not use their card prior to the cash-back program increase their spending and debt more than cardholders with debt prior to ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2010-19

Working Paper
The age of reason: financial decisions over the lifecycle

The sophistication of financial decisions varies with age: middle-aged adults borrow at lower interest rates and pay fewer fees compared to both younger and older adults. We document this pattern in ten financial markets. The measured effects cannot be explained by observed risk characteristics. The sophistication of financial choices peaks around age 53 in our cross-sectional data. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that financial sophistication rises and then falls with age, although the patterns that we observe represent a mix of age effects and cohort effects.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-07-05

Working Paper
The role of securitization in mortgage renegotiation

We study the effects of securitization on renegotiation of distressed residential mortgages over the current financial crisis. Unlike prior studies, we employ unique data that directly observe lender renegotiation actions and cover more than 60% of the U.S. mortgage market. Exploiting within-servicer variation in these data, we find that bank-held loans are 26% to 36% more likely to be renegotiated than comparable securitized mortgages (4.2 to 5.7% in absolute terms). Also, modifications of bank-held loans are more efficient: conditional on a modification, bank-held loans have lower ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2011-02

Newsletter
Rescuing asset-backed securities markets

On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve unveiled a loan facility to revive the market for asset-backed securities, which had essentially stopped functioning due to the global financial crisis. What are these securities and why is it important for these markets to continue to operate?
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Jan

Working Paper
Spending responses to state sales tax holidays

Every year over 20 states offer sales tax holidays (STHs) on specific items like clothes, shoes and other items to encourage consumption, affecting over 100 million consumers. We use a unique dataset of credit cards transaction to study the spending response to these holidays. Using a diff-in-diff methodology, we find that STHs increase overall daily spending by 8%, with large percentage increases in spending on children?s clothes and shoes of 193% and 98% respectively. Consumers with children increase spending more during STHs. Our estimates of price elasticities range from 6 for big box ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2012-10

Working Paper
Does the Relative Income of Peers Cause Financial Distress? Evidence from Lottery Winners and Neighboring Bankruptcies

SUPERSEDED BY WP 18-22 We examine whether relative income differences among peers can generate financial distress. Using lottery winnings as plausibly exogenous variations in the relative income of peers, we find that the dollar magnitude of a lottery win of one neighbor increases subsequent borrowing and bankruptcies among other neighbors. We also examine which factors may mitigate lenders? bankruptcy risk in these neighborhoods. We show that bankruptcy filers can obtain secured but not unsecured debt, and lenders provide secured credit to low-risk but not high-risk debtors. In addition, we ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-16

Journal Article
The asset-backed securities markets, the crisis and TALF

The authors explain the role of asset-backed securities markets in generating credit and liquidity and how this role was disrupted during the financial crisis. They discuss the implementation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) and argue that this program helped reestablish the ABS markets and the credit supply. and the reversion to a stable fiscal regime.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 34 , Issue Q IV , Pages 101-115

Working Paper
Owe a Bank Millions, the Bank Has a Problem: Credit Concentration in Bad Times

How does a bank react when a substantial share of its borrowers suffer a large negative shock? To answer this question we exploit the 2014 collapse of energy prices using the universe of Mexican commercial bank loans. We show that, after the drop in energy prices, banks exposed to the energy sector increased their exposure to these borrowers even more, relaxing credit margins to their larger debtors in the sector. An increase of one standard deviation in a bank's ex-ante exposure to the energy sector increased the loan volume to borrowers in the sector by 18 percent and reduced interest rates ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1288

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