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Jel Classification:N21 

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-37

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017-36

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2016-12

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-11

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-018

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-08

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-059

Journal Article
Furnishing an “Elastic Currency”: The Founding of the Fed and the Liquidity of the U.S. Banking System

This article examines how the U.S. banking system responded to the founding of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) in 1914. The Fed was established to bring an end to the frequent crises that plagued the U.S. banking system, which reform proponents attributed to the nation?s ?inelastic? currency stock and dependence on interbank relationships to allocate liquidity and operate the payments system. Reform advocates noted that banking panics tended to occur at times of the year when the demands for currency and bank loans were normally at seasonal peaks and money markets were at their tightest. ...
Review , Volume 100 , Issue 1 , Pages 17-44

Working Paper
Intermediary Asset Pricing during the National Banking Era

Financial intermediary balance sheets matter for asset returns even when these intermediaries do not directly participate in the relevant asset markets. During the National Banking Era, liquidity conditions for the New York Clearinghouse (NYCH) banks forecast excess returns for stocks, bonds, and currencies. The NYCH banks had little to no direct participation in these markets; their main link to these markets was through securities financing. Liquidity conditions affect asset prices through the credit growth of the NYCH banks, which shapes marginal investors' discount rates. I use ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1302

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1603

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