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Ten years later – Did QE work?
By November 2008, the Global Financial Crisis, which originated in the residential housing market and the shadow banking system, had begun to turn into a major recession, spurring the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to initiate what we now refer to as quantitative easing (QE). In this blog post, we draw upon the empirical findings of post-crisis academic research's including our own work's to shed light on the question: Did QE work?
Once Upon a Time in the Banking Sector: Historical Insights into Banking Competition
How does competition among banks affect credit growth and real economic growth? In addition, how does it affect financial stability? In this blog post, we derive insights into this important set of questions from novel data on the U.S. banking system during the nineteenth century.
Fight the Pandemic, Save the Economy: Lessons from the 1918 Flu
The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked urgent questions about the impact of pandemics, and associated countermeasures, on the real economy. Policymakers are in uncharted territory, with little guidance on what the expected economic fallout will be and how the crisis should be managed. In this blog post, we use insights from a recent research paper to discuss two sets of questions. First, what are the real economic effects of a pandemic—and are these effects temporary or persistent? Second, how does the local public health response affect the economic severity of the pandemic? In particular, do ...
Did QE Lead Banks to Relax Their Lending Standards? Evidence from the Federal Reserve's LSAPs
Using confidential loan officer survey data on lending standards and internal risk ratings on loans, we document an effect of large-scale asset purchase programs (LSAPs) on lending standards and risk-taking. We exploit cross-sectional variation in banks? holdings of mortgage-backed securities to show that the first and third round of quantitative easing (QE1 and QE3) significantly lowered lending standards and increased loan risk characteristics. The magnitude of the effects is about the same in QE1 and QE3, and is comparable to the effect of a one percentage point decrease in the Fed funds ...
Employment Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy : Evidence from QE
This paper investigates the effect of the Federal Reserve's unconventional monetary policy on employment via a bank lending channel. We find that banks with higher mortgage-backed securities holdings issued relatively more loans after the first and third rounds of quantitative easing (QE1 and QE3). While additional volume is concentrated in refinanced mortgages after QE1, increases are driven by newly originated home purchase mortgages and additional commercial and industrial lending after QE3. Using spatial variation, we show that regions with a high share of affected banks experienced ...
Implications of the COVID-19 Disruption for Corporate Leverage
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant economic disruptions among U.S. corporations. In this post, we study the preliminary impact of these disruptions on the cash flow and leverage of public U.S. corporations using public filings through April 2020. We find that the pandemic had a negative impact on cash flow while also reducing corporations’ interest expenses. However, the cash flow shock far outpaced the benefits of lower interest payments, especially in industries that were disproportionately levered. Looking ahead, we find that a sizable share of U.S. corporations have interest ...
The Banking Industry and COVID-19: Lifeline or Life Support?
By many measures the U.S. banking industry entered 2020 in good health. But the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the associated economic disruptions have caused unemployment to skyrocket and many businesses to suspend or significantly reduce operations. In this post, we consider the implications of the pandemic for the stability of the banking sector, including the potential impact of dividend suspensions on bank capital ratios and the use of banks’ regulatory capital buffers.
Weathering the Storm: Who Can Access Credit in a Pandemic?
Credit enables firms to weather temporary disruptions in their business that may impair their cash flow and limit their ability to meet commitments to suppliers and employees. The onset of the COVID recession sparked a massive increase in bank credit, largely driven by firms drawing on pre-committed credit lines. In this post, which is based on a recent Staff Report, we investigate which firms were able to tap into bank credit to help sustain their business over the ensuing downturn.
Bank Liquidity Provision across the Firm Size Distribution
Using loan-level data covering two-thirds of all corporate loans from U.S. banks, we document that SMEs (i) obtain much shorter maturity credit lines than large ﬁrms; (ii) have less active maturity management and therefore frequently have expiring credit; (iii) post more collateral on both credit lines and term loans; (iv) have higher utilization rates in normal times; and (v) pay higher spreads, even conditional on other ﬁrm characteristics. We present a theory of loan terms that rationalizes these facts as the equilibrium outcome of a trade-off between commitment and discretion. We test ...