Banks' incentives and the quality of internal risk models
This paper investigates the incentives for banks to bias their internally generated risk estimates. We are able to estimate bank biases at the credit level by comparing bank-generated risk estimates within loan syndicates. The biases are positively correlated with measures of regulatory capital, even in the presence of bank fixed effects, consistent with an effort by low-capital banks to improve regulatory ratios. At the portfolio level, the difference in borrower probability of default is as large as 100 basis points, which can improve the typical loan portfolio?s Tier 1 capital ratio by as ...
Evidence from the Bond Market on Banks’ “Too-Big-to-Fail” Subsidy
Yesterday’s post presented evidence on a possible upside of very large banks, namely, lower costs. In today’s post, we focus on a possible downside, that is, whether investors in the primary bond market “discount” risk when they invest in bonds of the too-big-to-fail banks.
What makes large bank failures so messy and what should be done about it?
This study argues that the defining feature of large and complex banks that makes their failures messy is their reliance on runnable financial liabilities. These liabilities confer liquidity or money-like services that may be impaired or destroyed in bankruptcy. To make large bank failures more orderly, the authors recommend that systemically important bank holding companies be required to issue ?bail-in-able? long-term debt that converts to equity in resolution. This reassures holders of uninsured liabilities that their claims will be honored in resolution, making them less likely to run. In ...
The cost of bank regulatory capital
The Basel I Accord introduced a discontinuity in required capital for undrawn credit commitments. While banks had to set aside capital when they extended commitments with maturities in excess of one year, short-term commitments were not subject to a capital requirement. The Basel II Accord sought to reduce this discontinuity by extending capital standards to most short-term commitments. We use these differences in capital standards around the one-year maturity to infer the cost of bank regulatory capital. Our results show that following Basel I, undrawn fees and all-in-drawn credit spreads on ...
Bank capital and equity investment regulations
An intermediation model that examines the efficiency and welfare implications of banks' required capital-asset ratio and of the regulations that limit - and in some countries forbid - banks' investments in equity to a certain proportion of each firm's capital. ; A look at how episodes of competing currencies can provide insight on 1) the qualities of a commodity that lead to its becoming a dominant currency, 2) the route by which a nationally mandated paper currency becomes acceptable as a medium of exchange, and 3) the way in which competition between currencies sustains the exchange value ...
Banking and commerce: how does the United States compare to other countries?
Historically, U.S. banks have not been permitted to invest in nonfinancial firms. Restrictions on firms' investments in banks, however, are a recent phenomenon. A comparison of U.S. and foreign regulation of affiliations between banks and nonfinancial firms shows that foreign banking laws are much more liberal. Nonetheless, data on banks' investment in shares and participations shows that they represent only a small fraction of banks' assets.
Did the Supervisory Guidance on Leveraged Lending Work?
Financial regulatory agencies issued guidance intended to curtail leveraged lending?loans to firms perceived to be risky?in March of 2013. In issuing the guidance, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation highlighted several facts that were reminiscent of the mortgage market in the years preceding the financial crisis: rapid growth in the volume of leveraged lending, increased participation by unregulated investors, and deteriorating underwriting standards. Our post shows that banks, in ...
Why Do Central Banks Have Discount Windows?
Though not literally a window any longer, the “discount window” refers to the facilities that central banks, acting as lender of last resort, use to provide liquidity to commercial banks. While the need for a discount window and lender of last resort has been debated, the basic rationale for their existence is that circumstances can arise, such as bank runs and panics, when even fundamentally sound banks cannot raise liquidity on short notice. Massive discount window borrowing in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States clearly illustrates the ...
What Do Rating Agencies Think about “Too-Big-to-Fail” since Dodd-Frank
Did the Dodd-Frank Act end ??too-big-to-fail?? (TBTF)? In this series of two posts, we look at this question through the lens of rating agencies and financial markets. Today we begin by discussing rating agencies? views on this topic.
Glass-Steagall and the regulatory dialectic
An explanation of how the Glass-Steagall Act, passed to prohibit U.S. commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities, has led to the same costly cat-and-mouse game between banks and their regulators as did the prohibition against interstate banking, and an argument that lawmakers should consider banks' incentives when crafting new regulations.