“Unconventional” Monetary Policy as Conventional Monetary Policy : A Perspective from the U.S. in the 1920s
To implement monetary policy in the 1920s, the Federal Reserve utilized administered interest rates and conducted open market operations in both government securities and private money market securities, sometimes in fairly considerable amounts. We show how the Fed was able to effectively use these tools to influence conditions in money markets, even those in which it was not an active participant. Moreover, our results suggest that the transmission of monetary policy to money markets occurred not just through changing the supply of reserves but importantly through financial market arbitrage ...
National Bank Examinations and Operations in the Early 1890s
We use information from examination reports to enrich our understanding of both the examination process and bank operations for National Banks in the early 1890s, the height of the National Banking Era. We describe the examination process and its frequency, as well as the information contained in the examinations relating to bank ownership and corporate governance, the composition and quality of the loan book, dividend payments made by the banks, and the use of different types of liabilities. Our sample of banks is from the larger cities, including several reserve cities, which allows us to ...
Matching Banks by Business Model, Geography and Size : A Dataset
In this note, we describe an algorithm, developed in Carlson, Shan, and Warusawitharana (2013), to match banks that are geographically close and are similar in size and business model. Concurrently, we also release a data set of matched banks obtained from applying this algorithm from 1998 to 2014, as well as some of the associated computer programs.
The Tools and Transmission of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy in the 1920s
This note describes the tools used by the Federal Reserve (Fed) to implement monetary policy in the 1920s and the degree to which changes in these tools were transmitted to private money markets. In doing so, we hope to provide some historical perspective to the renewed debate around monetary policy frameworks and toolkits.
Emergency Collateral Upgrades
During the 2008-09 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve established two emergency facilities for broker-dealers. One provided collateralized loans. The other lent securities against a pledge of other securities, effectively providing collateral upgrades, an operation similar to activities traditionally undertaken by broker-dealers. We find that these facilities alleviated dealers' funding pressures when access to repos backed by illiquid collateral deteriorated. We also find that dealers used the facilities, especially the ability to upgrade collateral, to continue funding their own illiquid ...
Are branch banks better survivors? Evidence from the Depression era
It is widely argued in the literature on the Great Depression that the prevalence of unit banks aggravated the problem of financial instability that afflicted the country. This paper tests the theory that more widespread branch banking would have reduced financial turbulence in the United States by examining the survival of individual branch and unit banks. Results indicate that instead of being more likely to survive, branch banks were more likely to fail. Further investigation suggests that this higher failure rate occurred because branch banks systematically held riskier portfolios than ...
Profits and balance sheet developments at U.S. commercial banks in 2002
Despite the lackluster performance of the U.S. economy, the profitability of the U.S. commercial banking industry was again high in 2002, and the return on bank assets reached its highest level in more than three decades. Profitability was spurred in considerable part by declines in market interest rates to extraordinarily low levels. Short-term interest rates were low throughout 2002 as a result of the Federal Reserve's aggressive easing the year before in response to economic weakness, and longer-term rates fell to multidecade lows by year-end. Nevertheless, the yield curve steepened on ...
Alternatives for distressed banks and the panics of the Great Depression
Several studies have explored whether the banking panics of the Great Depression caused some institutions to fail that might otherwise have survived. This paper adopts a different approach and investigates whether the panics resulted in the failure and liquidation of banks that might otherwise have been able to pursue a less disruptive resolution strategies such as merging with another institution or suspending operations and recapitalizing. Using data on individual state-chartered banks, I find that many of the banks that failed during the panics appear to have been at least as financially ...
Near-Money Premiums, Monetary Policy, and the Integration of Money Markets : Lessons from Deregulation
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed rapid growth in the markets for new money market instruments, such as negotiable certificates of deposit (CDs) and Eurodollar deposits, as banks and investors sought ways around various regulations affecting funding markets. In this paper, we investigate the impacts of the deregulation and integration of the money markets. We find that the pricing and volume of negotiable CDs and Eurodollars issued were influenced by the availability of other short-term safe assets, especially Treasury bills. Banks appear to have issued these money market instruments as ...
Why Do We Need Both Liquidity Regulations and a Lender of Last Resort? A Perspective from Federal Reserve Lending during the 2007-09 U.S. Financial Crisis
During the 2007-09 financial crisis, there were severe reductions in the liquidity of financial markets, runs on the shadow banking system, and destabilizing defaults and near-defaults of major financial institutions. In response, the Federal Reserve, in its role as lender of last resort (LOLR), injected extraordinary amounts of liquidity. In the aftermath, lawmakers and regulators have taken steps to reduce the likelihood that such lending would be required in the future, including the introduction of liquidity regulations. These changes were motivated in part by the argument that central ...