Interest rate volatility contributed to higher mortgage rates in 2022
The Federal Reserve aggressively tightened monetary policy in 2022, responding to high and persistent inflation. The resulting borrowing cost increase for households and firms was generally anticipated. However, fixed-rate mortgage interest rates were especially sensitive to the policy regime change.
Federal Home Loan Bank advances and commercial bank portfolio composition
This paper considers the role of Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advances in stabilizing their commercial bank members' residential mortgage lending activities. Our theoretical model shows that using mortgage-related membership criteria or requiring mortgage-related collateral does not ensure that FHLB advances will be put to use for stabilizing members' financing of housing. Using panel vector autoregression (VAR) techniques, we estimate recent dynamic responses of U.S. bank portfolios to FHLB advance shocks, bank lending shocks, and macroeconomic shocks. Our empirical findings suggest that ...
The Impact of Minority Representation at Mortgage Lenders
We study links between the labor market for loan officers and access to mortgage credit. Using novel data matching the (near) universe of mortgage applications to loan officers, we find that minorities are significantly underrepresented among loan officers. Minority borrowers are less likely to complete mortgage applications, have completed applications approved, and to ultimately take-up a loan. These disparities are significantly reduced when minority borrowers work with minority loan officers. Minority borrowers working with minority loan officers also have lower default rates. Our results ...
Small business credit scoring and credit availability
U.S. commercial banks are increasingly using credit scoring models to underwrite small business credits. This paper discusses this technology, evaluates the research findings on the effects of this technology on small business credit availability, and links these findings to a number of research and public policy issues.
Quantitative Easing and Financial Risk Taking: Evidence from Agency Mortgage REITs
An emerging literature documents a link between central bank quantitative easing (QE) and financial institution credit risk-taking. This paper tests the complementary hypothesis that QE may also affect financial risk-taking. We study Agency MREITs – levered shadow banks that invest in guaranteed U.S. Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) principally funded with repo debt. We show that Agency MREIT growth is inversely related to the Federal Reserve’s Agency MBS purchases, reflecting investor portfolio rebalancing. We also find that these institutions increased leverage during the later ...
Commercial lending distance and historically underserved areas
We study recent changes in the geographic distances between small businesses and their bank lenders, using a large random sample of loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Consistent with extant research, we find that small borrower-lender distances generally increased between 1984 and 2001, with a rapid acceleration in distance beginning in the late-1990s. We also document a new phenomenon: a fundamental reordering of borrower-lender distance by the borrowers' neighborhood income and race characteristics. Historically, borrower-lender distance tended to be shorter than average ...
The devil's in the tail: residential mortgage finance and the U.S. Treasury
This paper seeks to contribute to the U.S. housing finance reform conversation by providing a critical assessment of the various types of policy proposals that have been offered. There appears to be a broad consensus to maintain explicit government guarantees for certain narrowly defined borrower populations, such as Federal Housing Administration insurance guarantees for low- and moderate-income and first-time homebuyers. However, the expected role of the federal government in the broader housing finance system is in dispute. The expected role ranges from no role to insuring against only ...
COVID-19 Exposes Mortgage Market Vulnerabilities that Led to Volatility, Fed Intervention
The COVID-19-induced financial market shock in March 2020 significantly disrupted the market for agency mortgage-backed securities.
Financing housing through government-sponsored enterprises
Three government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System-were created to improve the availability of home mortgage financing by supplementing local funding. But today's more evolved financial markets enable retail lenders to tap national markets. Thus, the main contribution of the three housing GSEs has become providing homebuyers an interest rate subsidy that is made possible by the GSEs' special relationship with the federal government. ; This article examines the economic issues arising from the provision of such subsidies via the housing ...