The information value of the stress test and bank opacity
We investigate whether the ?stress test,? the extraordinary examination of the nineteen largest U.S. bank holding companies conducted by federal bank supervisors in 2009, produced the information demanded by the market. Using standard event study techniques, we find that the market had largely deciphered on its own which banks would have capital gaps before the stress test results were revealed, but that the market was informed by the size of the gap; given our proxy for the expected gap, banks with larger capital gaps experienced more negative abnormal returns. Our findings suggest that the ...
Credit, equity, and mortgage refinancings
Using a unique loan level data set that links individual household credit ratings with property and loan characteristics, the authors test the extent to which homeowners' credit ratings and equity affect the likelihood that mortgage loans will be refinanced as interest rates fall. Their logit model estimates strongly support the importance of both the credit and equity variables. Furthermore, the authors' results suggest that a change in the overall lending environment over the past decade has increased the probability that a homeowner will refinance.
Structural change in the mortgage market and the propensity to refinance
We hypothesize that the intrinsic benefit required to trigger a refinancing has become smaller, due to a combination of technological, regulatory, and structural changes that have made mortgage origination more competitive and more efficient. To test this hypothesis, we estimate an empirical hazard model of loan survival for two subperiods, using a database that allows us to carefully control for homeowners' credit ratings, equity, loan size, and measurable transaction costs. Our findings strongly confirm that credit ratings and home equity have significant effects on refinancing probability. ...
Trends in financial market concentration and their implications for market stability
The link between financial market concentration and stability is a topic of great interest to policymakers and other market participants. Are concentrated markets - those where a relatively small number of firms hold large market shares - inherently more prone to disruption? This article considers that question by drawing on academic studies as well as introducing new analysis. Like other researchers, the authors find an ambiguous relationship between concentration and instability when a large firm in a concentrated market fails. In a complementary review of concentration trends across a ...
Evaluating the relative strength of the U.S. capital markets
Concern is growing that the U.S. capital markets are losing market share to overseas competitors. A decline in foreign initial public offerings indeed suggests that the U.S. equity market is becoming less attractive to certain issuers. However, evidence on the competitiveness of the U.S. equity market is mixed, since the trends affecting it are likewise shaping equity markets abroad. A less ambiguous decline in the share of global issuance can be seen in the U.S. corporate bond market, which is facing a growing challenge from the Eurobond market.
The Dominant Role of Banks in Asset Securitization
As the previous posts have discussed, financial intermediation has evolved over the last few decades toward shadow banking. With that evolution, the traditional roles of banks as intermediaries between savers and borrowers are increasingly performed by more specialized entities involved in asset securitization. In this post, we summarize our published contribution to the series, in which we provide a comprehensive quantitative mapping of the primary roles in securitization. We document that banks were responsible for the majority of these activities. Their dominance indicates that the modern ...
Capital ratios as predictors of bank failure
The current review of the 1988 Basel Capital Accord has put the spotlight on the ratios used to assess banks? capital adequacy. This article examines the effectiveness of three capital ratios?the first based on leverage, the second on gross revenues, and the third on risk-weighted assets?in forecasting bank failure over different time frames. Using 1988-93 data on U.S. banks, the authors find that the simple leverage and gross revenue ratios perform as well as the more complex risk-weighted ratio over one- or two-year horizons. Although the risk-weighted measures prove more accurate in ...