Interbank Markets and Banking Crises: New Evidence on the Establishment and Impact of the Federal Reserve
This paper examines the impact of the Federal Reserve?s founding on seasonal pressures and contagion risk in the interbank system. Deposit flows among classes of banks were highly seasonal before 1914; amplitude and timing varied regionally. Panics interrupted normal flows as banks throughout the country sought funds from the central money markets simultaneously. Seasonal pressures and contagion risk in the system were lower by the 1920s, when the Fed provided seasonal liquidity and reserves. Panics returned in the 1930s, due in part to shocks from nonmember banks and because the Fed?s ...
Banking on the Boom, Tripped by the Bust: Banks and the World War I Agricultural Price Shock
How do banks respond to asset booms? This paper examines i) how U.S. banks responded to the World War I farmland boom; ii) the impact of regulation; and iii) how bank closures exacerbated the post-war bust. The boom encouraged new bank formation and balance sheet expansion (especially by new banks). Deposit insurance amplified the impact of rising crop prices on bank portfolios, while higher minimum capital requirements dampened the effects. Banks that responded most aggressively to the asset boom had a higher probability of closing in the bust, and counties with more bank closures ...
Liquidity Requirements, Free-Riding, and the Implications for Financial Stability Evidence from the Early 1900s
Maintaining sufficient liquidity in the financial system is vital for financial stability. However, since returns on liquid assets are typically low, individual financial institutions may seek to hold fewer such assets, especially if they believe they can rely on other institutions for liquidity support. We examine whether state banks in the early 1900s took advantage of relatively high cash balances maintained by national banks, due to reserve requirements, to hold less cash themselves. We find that state banks did hold less cash in places where both state legal requirements were lower and ...
Corporate Governance and Risk Management at Unprotected Banks: National Banks in the 1890s
Managers' incentives may conflict with those of shareholders or creditors, particularly at leveraged, opaque banks. Bankers may abuse their control rights to give themselves excessive salaries, favored access to credit, or to take excessive risks that benefit themselves at the expense of depositors. Banks must design contracting and governance structures that sufficiently resolve agency problems so that they can attract funding from outside shareholders and depositors. We examine banks from the 1890s, a period when there were no distortions from deposit insurance or government interventions ...
Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Systemic Risk?
As a result of legal restrictions on branch banking, an extensive interbank system developed in the United States during the 19th century to facilitate interregional payments and flows of liquidity and credit. Vast sums moved through the interbank system to meet seasonal and other demands, but the system also transmitted shocks during banking panics. The Federal Reserve was established in 1914 to reduce reliance on the interbank market and correct other defects that caused banking system instability. Drawing on recent theoretical work on interbank networks, we examine how the Fed?s ...
How Did Pre-Fed Banking Panics End?
How did pre-Fed banking crises end? How did depositors? beliefs change? During the National Banking Era, 1863-1914, banks responded to the severe panics by suspending convertibility; that is, they refused to exchange cash for their liabilities (checking accounts). At the start of the suspension period, the private clearing houses cut off bank-specific information. Member banks were legally united into a single entity by the issuance of emergency loan certificates, a joint liability. A new market for certified checks opened, pricing the risk of clearing house failure. Certified checks traded ...
The Transmission of the Financial Crisis in 1907: An Empirical Investigation
Using an extensive high-frequency data set, we investigate the transmission of financial crisis specifically focusing on the Panic of 1907, the final severe panic of the National Banking Era (1863-1913). We trace the transmission of the crisis from New York City trust companies to the New York City national banks through direct and indirect interconnections. Trust companies held cash balances at national banks, and these balances were liquidated as trust companies suffered depositor runs. Secondly, trust companies and national banks were notable creditors to the New York Stock Exchange; when ...
Outside Lending in the NYC Call Loan Market
Before the Panic of 1907 the large New York City banks were able to maintain the call loan market?s liquidity during panics, but the rise in outside lending by trust companies and interior banks in the decade leading up the panic weakened the influence of the large banks. Creating a reliable source of liquidity and reserves external to the financial market like a central bank became obvious after the panic. The lack of a lender of last resort for investment banks engaged in bank-like activities during the crisis of 2007-09 revealed a similar need for an external liquidity source.
Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Congation Risk?
As a result of legal restrictions on branch banking, an extensive interbank system developed in the United States during the nineteenth century to facilitate interregional payments and flows of liquidity and credit. Vast sums moved through the interbank system to meet seasonal and other demands, but the system also transmitted shocks during banking panics. The Federal Reserve was established in 1914 to reduce reliance on the interbank system and to correct other defects that caused banking system instability. Drawing on recent theoretical work on interbank networks, we examine how the Fed?s ...
Banker Preferences, Interbank Connections, and the Enduring Structure of the Federal Reserve System
Established by a three person committee in 1914, the structure of the Federal Reserve System has remained essentially unchanged ever since, despite criticism at the time and over ensuing decades. This paper examines the original selection of cities for Reserve Banks and branches, and placement of district boundaries. We show that each aspect of the Fed?s structure reflected the preferences of national banks, including adjustments to district boundaries after 1914. Further, using newly-collected data on interbank connections, we find that banker preferences mirrored established correspondent ...