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Jel Classification:H12 

Working Paper
Government Loan Guarantees during a Crisis: The Effect of the PPP on Bank Lending and Profitability

We study bank responses to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and its effects on lender balance sheets and profitability. To address the endogeneity between bank decisions and balance sheet effects, we develop a Bayesian joint model that examines the decision to participate, the intensity of participation, and ultimate balance sheet outcomes. Overall, lenders were driven by risk-aversion and funding capacity rather than profitability in their decision to participate and the intensity of their participation. Indeed, with greater participation intensity, banks experienced sizable growth in ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 21-03

Report
The rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

We describe and evaluate the measures taken by the U.S. government to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008. We begin by outlining the business model of these two firms and their role in the U.S. housing finance system. Our focus then turns to the sources of financial distress that the firms experienced and the events that ultimately led the government to take action in an effort to stabilize housing and financial markets. We describe the various resolution options available to policymakers at the time and evaluate the success of the choice of conservatorship, and other actions ...
Staff Reports , Paper 719

Report
Does going easy on distressed banks help the macroeconomy?

During banking crises, regulators often relax their requirements and refrain from closing troubled banks. I estimate the real effects of such regulatory forbearance during the U.S. savings and loan crisis by comparing states' economic outcomes by the amount of forbearance they receive. As instruments, I use historical variation in deposit insurance of similar financial intermediaries (thrifts) and exploit geographic variation in principal supervisory agent (PSA). The evidence suggests a policy-induced real estate boom during forbearance (1982-89), followed by a bigger bust in real estate and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 823

Working Paper
What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data

Burns and Mitchell (1946, 109) found a recession of "exceptional brevity and moderate amplitude." I confirm their judgment by examining a variety of high-frequency data. Industrial output fell sharply but rebounded within months. Retail seemed little affected and there is no evidence of increased business failures or stressed financial system. Cross-sectional data from the coal industry documents the short-lived impact of the epidemic on labor supply. The Armistice possibly prolonged the 1918 recession, short as it was, by injecting momentary uncertainty. Interventions to hinder the contagion ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-11

Report
Government Guarantees and the Valuation of American Banks

Banks' ratio of the market value to book value of their equity was close to 1 until the 1990s, then more than doubled during the 1996-2007 period, and fell again to values close to 1 after the 2008 financial crisis. Sarin and Summers (2016) and Chousakos and Gorton (2017) argue that the drop in banks' market-to-book ratio since the crisis is due to a loss in bank franchise value or profitability. In this paper we argue that banks' market-to-book ratio is the sum of two components: franchise value and the value of government guarantees. We empirically decompose the ratio between these two ...
Staff Report , Paper 567

Report
The Main Street Lending Program

The Main Street Lending Program was created to support credit to small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations that were harmed by the pandemic, particularly those that were unsupported by other pandemic-response programs. It was the most direct involvement in the business loan market by the Federal Reserve since the 1930s and 1940s. Main Street operated by buying 95 percent participations in standardized loans from lenders (mostly banks) and sharing the credit risk with them. It would end up supporting loans to more than 2,400 borrowers and co-borrowers across the United ...
Current Policy Perspectives

Discussion Paper
So Far, So Good: Government Insurance of Financial Sector Tail Risk

The US government has intervened to provide extraordinary support 16 times from 1970 to 2020 with the goal of preventing or mitigating (or both) the cost of financial instability to the financial sector and the real economy. This article discusses the motivation for such support, reviewing the instances where support was provided, along with one case where it was expected but not provided. The article then discusses the moral hazard and fiscal risks posed by the government's insurance of the tail risk along with ways to reduce the government's risk exposure.
Policy Hub

Working Paper
A Journey in the History of Sovereign Defaults on Domestic-Law Public Debt

We introduce a novel database on sovereign defaults that involve public debt instruments governed by domestic law. By systematically reviewing a large number of sources, we identify 134 default and restructuring events of domestic debt instruments, in 52 countries from 1980 to 2018. Domestic-law defaults are a global phenomenon. Over time, they have become larger and more frequent than foreign-law defaults. Domestic-law debt restructurings proceed faster than foreign ones, often through extensions of maturities and amendments to the coupon structure. While face value reductions are rare, ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1338

Journal Article
So Far, So Good: Government Insurance of Financial Sector Tail Risk

The US government has intervened to provide extraordinary support 16 times from 1970 to 2020 with the goal of preventing or mitigating (or both) the cost of financial instability to the financial sector and the real economy. This article discusses the motivation for such support, reviewing the instances where support was provided, along with one case where it was expected but not provided. The article then discusses the moral hazard and fiscal risks posed by the government's insurance of the tail risk along with ways to reduce the government's risk exposure.
Policy Hub , Volume 2021 , Issue 13 , Pages 62

Journal Article
Introduction to Special Issue: The Appropriate Role of Government in U.S. Mortgage Markets

The U.S. mortgage finance system was one of the focal points of the 2007-08 financial crisis, yet legislative decisions about the appropriate role of the federal government in the system remain unsettled. Policy deliberations have focused on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?the two enormous government-sponsored enterprises that were placed into federal conservatorship in September 2008. The two GSEs have long been the centerpieces of a mortgage finance system that relies on capital market financing of U.S. residential mortgages. This volume contains eight articles that touch on several key ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 24-3 , Pages 1-10

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