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Series:Supervisory Research and Analysis Working Papers  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 

Working Paper
The stability of prime money market mutual funds: sponsor support from 2007 to 2011
It is commonly noted that in the history of the Money Market Mutual Fund (MMMF) industry only two MMMFs have ?broken the buck,? or had the net asset value per share (NAV) at which they transact fall below $1. While this statement is true, it is useful to consider the role that non-contractual support has played in the maintenance of this strong track record. Such support, which has served to obscure the credit risk taken by these funds, has been a common occurrence over the history of MMMFs. This paper presents a detailed view of the non-contractual support provided to MMMFs by their sponsors during the recent financial crisis based on an in depth review of public MMMF annual SEC financial statement filings (form N-CSR) with fiscal year-end dates falling between 2007 and 2011. According to our conservative interpretation of this data, we find that at least 21 prime MMMFs would have broken the buck absent a single identified support instance during the most recent financial crisis. Further, we identify repeat instances of support (or significant outflows) for some MMMFs during this period such that a total of at least 31 prime MMMFs would have broken the buck when considering the entirety of support activity over the full period.
AUTHORS: Anadu, Ken; Brady, Steffanie; Cooper, Nathaniel R.
DATE: 2012

Working Paper
Fair value accounting: villain or innocent victim?: exploring the links between fair value accounting, bank regulatory capital, and the recent financial crisis
There is a popular belief that the confluence of bank capital rules and fair value accounting helped trigger the recent financial crisis. The claim is that questionable valuations of long term investments based on prices obtained from illiquid markets created a pro-cyclical effect whereby mark to market adjustments reduced regulatory capital forcing banks to sell off investments which further depressed prices. This ultimately led to bank instability and the credit effects that reached a peak late in 2008. This paper analyzes a sample of large banks to attempt to measure the strength of the link between fair value accounting, regulatory capital rules, pro-cyclicality and financial contagion. The focus is on large banks because they value a significant portion of their balance sheets using fair value. They also hold investment portfolios that contain illiquid assets in large enough volumes to possibly affect the market in a pro-cyclical fashion. The analysis is based on a review of recent historical financial data. The analysis does not reveal a clear link for most banks in the sample, but rather suggests that there may have been other more significant factors putting stress on bank regulatory capital.
AUTHORS: Shaffer, Sanders
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Bank diversification, market structure and bank risk taking: theory and evidence from U.S. commercial banks
This paper studies how a bank?s diversification affects its own risk taking behavior and the risk taking of competing, nondiversified banks. By combining theories of bank organization, market structure and risk taking, I show that greater geographic diversification of banks changes a bank?s lending behavior and market interest rates, which also has ramifications for nondiversified competitors due to interactions in the banking market. Empirical results obtained from the U.S. commercial banking sector support this relationship as they indicate that a bank?s risk taking is lower when its competitors have a more diversified branch network. By utilizing the state-specific timing of a removal of intrastate branching restrictions in two identification strategies, I further pin down a causal relationship between the diversification of competitors and a bank?s risk taking behavior. These findings indicate that a bank?s diversification also impacts the risk taking of competitors, even if these banks are not diversifying their activities.
AUTHORS: Goetz, Martin
DATE: 2012

Working Paper
The option value of consumer bankruptcy
This paper aims to contribute to the growing literature on the causes of consumer bankruptcy. It presents the consumer bankruptcy decision as an irreversible choice that has an embedded real option value. This allows the use of well known framework for the study of decision making under uncertainty. The principal empirical finding is that cross-sectional variances of economic factors, such as unemployment, are strong predictors of bankruptcy rates and are consistent with the implications of the real options model. This supports anecdotal evidence that individuals are facing increased economic uncertainty and that suggests that uninsurable economic shocks are poorly characterized by local information. Finally, the paper concludes that policy regarding changes in the bankruptcy rate may have been disproportionately focused on credit variables such as utilization rates and supply of credit rather than exposure to risk.
AUTHORS: Cohen-Cole, Ethan
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
Market proxies, correlation, and relative mean-variance efficiency: still living with the roll critique
A pricing restriction is developed to test the validity of the CAPM conditional on a prior belief about the correlation between the true market return and the proxy return used in the test. Distinguishing this pricing restriction from competing tests also based upon the relative efficiency of the proxy return is a consideration for the proxy's mismeasurement of the market return. Failure to account for this mismeasurement biases tests of the CAPM towards rejection by overstating the inefficiency of the proxy. A time-varying version of this pricing restriction links mismeasurement of the market return to time-variation in beta. This paper is a revision to Working Paper QAU07-2, "The Relative Efficiency of Endogenous Proxies: Still Living with the Roll Critique."
AUTHORS: Prono, Todd
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
Liquidity Shocks, Dollar Funding Costs, and the Bank Lending Channel during the European Sovereign Crisis
This paper documents a new type of cross-border bank lending channel using a novel dataset on the balance sheets of U.S. branches of foreign banks and their syndicated loans. We show that: (1) The U.S. branches of euro-area banks suffered a liquidity shock in the form of reduced access to large time deposits during the European sovereign debt crisis in 2011. The shock was related to their euro-area affiliation rather than to country- or bank-specific characteristics. (2) The affected branches received additional funding from their parent banks, but not enough to offset the lost deposits. (3) The liquidity shock prompted branches to cut lending to U.S. firms, which occurred mostly along the extensive margin. In turn, the affected U.S. firms suffered reduced access to syndicated loans, which prompted them to cut investment and built up their cash reserves.
AUTHORS: Correa, Ricardo; Zlate, Andrei; Sapriza, Horacio
DATE: 2016-09-30

Working Paper
Optimal portfolio choice with predictability in house prices and transaction costs
We study a model of portfolio choice, in which housing prices are predictable and adjustment costs must be paid when there is a housing transaction. We show that two state variables affect the agent's decisions: (i) his wealth-house ratio; and (ii) the time-varying expected growth rate of housing prices. The agent buys (sells) his housing assets only when the wealth-house ratio reaches an optimal upper (lower) boundary. These boundaries are time-varying and depend on the expected growth rate of housing prices. Finally, we use household level data from the PSID and SIPP surveys to test and support the main implications of the model, as well as portfolio rules and holdings of housing asset.
AUTHORS: Corradin, Stefano; Fillat, Jose; Vergara-Alert, Carles
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
How effective were the Federal Reserve emergency liquidity facilities?: evidence from the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility
Following the failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, short-term credit markets were severely disrupted. In response, the Federal Reserve implemented new and unconventional facilities to help restore liquidity. Many existing analyses of these interventions are confounded by identification problems because they rely on aggregate data. Two unique micro datasets allow us to exploit both time series and cross-sectional variation to evaluate one of the most unusual of these facilities - the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (AMLF). The AMLF extended collateralized loans to depository institutions that purchased asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) from money market funds, helping these funds meet the heavy redemptions that followed Lehman's bankruptcy. The program, which lent $150 billion in its first 10 days of operation, was wound down with no credit losses to the Federal Reserve. Our findings indicate that the facility was effective as measured against its dual objectives: it helped stabilize asset outflows from money market mutual funds, and it improved liquidity in the ABCP market. Using a differences-in-differences approach we show that after the facility was implemented, money market fund outflows decreased more for those funds that held more eligible collateral. Similarly, we show that yields on AMLF-eligible ABCP decreased significantly relative to those on otherwise comparable AMLF-ineligible commercial paper.
AUTHORS: Parkinson, Patrick M.; Duygan-Bump, Burcu; Rosengren, Eric S.; Suarez, Gustavo A.; Willen, Paul S.
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Evaluating the impact of fair value accounting on financial institutions: implications for accounting standards setting and bank supervision
Recent standard-setting activity related to fair value accounting has injected new life into questions of whether fair value provides information useful for decision-making, and whether there might be unintended consequences on financial stability. This discussion paper provides insight into these questions by performing a holistic evaluation of fair value accounting?s usefulness, the potential impacts it may have on financial institutions and any broader macroeconomic effects. Materials reviewed as part of this analysis include public bank regulatory filings, financial statements, and fair value research. The bank supervisory rating approach referred to as CAMELS is used as an organizing principle for the paper. CAMELS serves as a convenient way to both categorize potential impacts of fair value on financial institutions, as well as provide a bank supervisory perspective alongside the more traditional investor?s views on decision usefulness. ; The overall conclusion based on the evidence presented is that implementing fair value accounting more broadly may not necessarily provide financial statement users with more transparent and useful reporting. Additionally, financial stability may be negatively impacted by fair value accounting due to the interconnectedness of financial institutions, markets and the broader economy. The analysis suggests that the current direction in which accounting standard setters and bank regulators are moving may represent a possible solution to address these concerns. U.S. accounting standard setters have recently proposed that fair value, along with enhanced disclosures, be applied in a more targeted manner. Bank regulators are developing new supervisory tools and approaches which may alleviate some of the potential negative impact of fair value on financial stability. Additional policy implications and areas for future study are suggested.
AUTHORS: Shaffer, Sanders
DATE: 2012

Working Paper
Forgive and forget: who gets credit after bankruptcy and why?
Conventional wisdom about individuals who have gone bankrupt is that they find it very difficult to get credit for at least some time after their bankruptcy. However, there is very little non-survey based empirical evidence on the availability of credit post-bankruptcy. This paper makes two contributions using data from one of the largest credit bureaus in the US. First, we show that individuals who file for bankruptcy can indeed get credit very quickly after they file. Indeed, 90% of individuals have access to some sort of credit within the 18 months after filing for bankruptcy, and 66% have unsecured credit. Second, we show that those individuals who are effectively the least punished and can get the easiest access to credit after bankruptcy tend to be the ones who have shown the least ability and propensity to repay their debt prior to declaring bankruptcy. In fact, a significant fraction of individuals at the bottom of the credit quality spectrum seem to receive more credit after filing than before. We interpret the widespread credit access and the difference in credit provision across borrower types as evidence that lenders target at-risk borrowers. By means of a simple stylized model we show that this observation is consistent with a profit maximizing lender whose optimal strategy involves segmenting borrowers by observable credit quality and bankruptcy status and that offers credit contracts to each group. This interpretation is also in line with survey evidence that shows that lenders repeatedly solicit debtors to borrow after bankruptcy, with unsecured credit card being the easiest one to obtain.
AUTHORS: Montoriol-Garriga, Judit; Cohen-Cole, Ethan; Duygan-Bump, Burcu
DATE: 2009




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