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Author:Balla, Eliana 

Working Paper
Comparison of Small Bank Failures and FDIC Losses in the 1986–92 and 2007–13 Banking Crises
Failure rates of small commercial banks during the banking crisis of the late 1980s were about 7.6%, which is significantly higher than the 5.7% failure rate during the recent crisis. The higher rate is surprising because small banks had significantly increased their commercial real estate (CRE) lending by the second crisis, which is riskier than other types of lending, and economic shocks were more severe in the recent crisis. We compare failure rates in the two periods using a statistical model that allows us to decompose the effect of changes in bank characteristics and economic shocks on failure rates. We find that the severe economic shocks of the recent crisis had a larger impact on high bank failure rates than bank characteristics. Increases in risk from CRE lending were offset by higher capital levels and other changes in bank characteristics. The failure rate would have been much lower in the later crisis if banks were subject to the less severe economic shocks of the earlier crisis. To the extent that higher capital levels were due to Basel I and the prompt corrective action (PCA) provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991, we find that these reforms were beneficial. We also compare Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) losses on failed banks between the two periods. Here, despite the PCA reforms, losses on failed banks were higher in the recent crisis than in the earlier one. These differences are not accounted for by changes in CRE concentrations or the relative size of economic shocks. On this dimension, the reforms of the early 1990s did not seem to help. Finally, we find that a discretionary accounting variable, interest accrued but not yet received, is predictive of both failure and higher FDIC losses in both crises.
AUTHORS: Mazur, Laurel; Balla, Eliana; Prescott, Edward Simpson; Walter, John R.
DATE: 2017-11-13

Briefing
Did Banking Reforms of the Early 1990s Fail? Lessons from Comparing Two Banking Crises
New Richmond Fed research on community and midsize banks evaluates the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act (FDICIA) and Basel I by comparing failures in the 1986-92 period to those in 2007-13. Banks greatly increased commercial real estate lending between the two banking crises, but higher capital mitigated this risk. Failure rates in the recent crisis were mainly driven by the severity of the economic shocks. However, higher capital did not help contain FDIC losses, which were much larger in the recent crisis. One possible explanation is limitations in the accounting triggers used by FDICIA's prompt corrective action requirement.
AUTHORS: Balla, Eliana; Fessenden, Helen; Prescott, Edward Simpson; Walter, John R.
DATE: 2015-06

Briefing
Loan loss reserve accounting and bank behavior
The rules governing banks' loan loss provisioning and reserves require a trade-off between the goals of bank regulators, who emphasize safety and soundness, and the goals of accounting standard setters, who emphasize the transparency of financial statements. A strengthening of accounting priorities in the decade prior to the financial crisis was associated with a decrease in the level of loan loss reserves in the banking system.
AUTHORS: Balla, Eliana; Rose, Morgan J.; Romero, Jessica Sackett
DATE: 2012-03

Journal Article
Dynamic provisioning: a countercyclical tool for loan loss reserves
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2009, as various banking policymakers revisit loan loss provisioning rules, the Spanish approach of dynamic provisioning has garnered attention as a potential alternative to the current incurred loss approach. We review the current approach to loan loss reserves in the United States, focusing on how loan loss reserves relate to bank solvency and why the current accounting approach may have procyclical effects. We present a conceptual framework to compare loan loss provisioning under the incurred loss framework and dynamic provisioning. Then we simulate dynamic provisioning with U.S. data to present an empirical comparison.
AUTHORS: Balla, Eliana; McKenna, Andrew
DATE: 2009-10

Journal Article
Decoding messages from the yield curve
AUTHORS: Vaughan, Mark D.; Balla, Eliana; Carpenter, Robert E.
DATE: 2007-04

Working Paper
Assessing the effectiveness of the Paulson \\"teaser freezer\\" plan: evidence from the ABX index
How did investors holding assets backed by subprime residential mortgages react when Treasury Secretary Paulson announced the so-called "teaser freezer" plan to modify mortgages in December 2007? We apply event-study methodology to the ABX index, the only source of daily securities prices in subprime mortgage markets. Our results show that investors initially perceived that the Paulson Plan would improve conditions in subprime housing markets. Specifically, those investors who held the riskiest securities backed by subprime residential housing benefited the most from the Paulson Plan. These findings do not extend to the longer term, suggesting that any positive effects from Paulson Plan loan modifications were overwhelmed by the continued deterioration in housing markets. ; WP 10-06 replaces an earlier version listed as WP 09-7
AUTHORS: Balla, Eliana; Carpenter, Robert E.; Robinson, Breck L.
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Loan loss reserves, accounting constraints, and bank ownership structure
This paper examines how the tightening of accounting constraints associated with the SunTrust bank decision in 1998 impacted the loan loss reserve policies of banks differently based on ownership structure. The SunTrust case, the result of an SEC inquiry over possible overstating of loan loss reserves, represented a strengthening of accounting priorities, which stress the importance of the reserve account for financial statement objectivity and comparability, relative to supervisory priorities, which emphasize the role of reserves for bank solvency through changing economic environments. The evidence presented indicates that publicly held banks, which fall directly under the SECs purview, reduced their loan loss reserve and provisions relative to privately held banks. Evidence also indicates that the positive relationship between bank earnings and provisions weakened, consistent with a reduction in either earnings management or early recognition of losses.
AUTHORS: Balla, Eliana; Rose, Morgan J.
DATE: 2011

Working Paper
Did the Financial Reforms of the Early 1990s Fail? A Comparison of Bank Failures and FDIC Losses in the 1986-92 and 2007-13 Periods
Two of the most significant banking reforms to come out of the banking problems in the late 1980s and early 1990s were the increase in capital requirements from Basel 1 and the prompt corrective action (PCA) provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA). The PCA provisions require regulators to shut down banks before book capital becomes negative. We compare failures and FDIC losses on commercial banks in the pre-FDICIA commercial bank crisis of the mid-1980s to early 1990s with that in the recent financial crisis. Using a sample of community and mid-sized banks, we find that almost all the same bank characteristics predict failure and high losses in the two crises. Our results imply that for these classes of banks, the two crises were very similar. We find that the failure rate in the recent period was driven more by severe economic conditions than by the increased concentrations in real estate lending. The analysis suggests that the combination of PCA with higher capital levels helped reduce failure rates in the recent period. In contrast, the analysis suggests that the reforms did not help with FDIC losses. FDIC losses on failed commercial banks were approximately 14% of failed bank assets over the 1986-92 period but increased to approximately 24% over the 2007-13 period. We find that the increased losses are not explained by variations in bank balance sheets or local economic conditions. Finally, we find that a discretionary accounting variable, interest accrued but not yet received, is predictive of both failure and higher FDIC losses.
AUTHORS: Walter, John R.; Balla, Eliana; Prescott, Edward Simpson
DATE: 2015-05-15

Working Paper
Assessing the effectiveness of the Paulson \\"Teaser Freezer\\" plan : evidence from the ABX index
How did investors holding assets backed by subprime residential mortgages react when Treasury Secretary Paulson announced the so-called "teaser freezer" plan to modify mortgages in December 2007? We apply event-study methodology to the ABX index, the only source of daily securities prices in subprime mortgage markets. Our results show investors in the ABX initially perceived that the plan would improve conditions in the subprime housing markets, but results from a longer event window show this positive effect was swamped by continued deterioration in housing markets. The positive effects of the plan disappear for junior tranche securities in recent vintages, consistent with poorer quality collateral pools. ; Updated by Working Paper 10-06
AUTHORS: Robinson, Breck L.; Carpenter, Robert E.; Balla, Eliana
DATE: 2009

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