The payment system benefits of high reserve balances
The policy measures taken since the financial crisis have greatly expanded the size of the Federal Reserve?s balance sheet and have thus raised the level of aggregate bank reserves as well. Over the same period there has been a significant shift in the timing of payments made over the Federal Reserve?s Fedwire Funds Service toward earlier settlement. This paper documents this timing change and presents regression results suggesting that the increase in overall reserve balances explains the vast majority of this development. The paper also discusses the benefits of high aggregate reserve ...
The topology of interbank payment flows
We explore the network topology of the interbank payments transferred between commercial banks over the Fedwire Funds Service. We find that the network is compact despite low connectivity. The network includes a tightly connected core of money-center banks to which all other banks connect. The degree distribution is scale-free over a substantial range. We find that the properties of the network changed considerably in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Developments in the dollar payments system
The timing and funding of Fedwire funds transfers
An examination of the Federal Reserve?s Fedwire Funds Transfer service reveals that the highest concentration of funds-transfer value occurs in the late afternoon. The authors attribute this activity peak to attempts by banks (and their customers) to coordinate payment timing more closely. By synchronizing payments, banks can take advantage of incoming funds to make outgoing payments?especially during periods of heavy payment traffic. Conversely, during off-peak times, banks must rely more on account balances or overdrafts to fund payments, which increases the cost of making payments. For ...
The welfare effects of a liquidity-saving mechanism
This paper considers the welfare effect of introducing a liquidity-saving mechanism (LSM) in a real-time gross settlement (RTGS) payment system. We study the planner's problem to get a better understanding of the economic role of an LSM and find that an LSM can achieve the planner's allocation for some parameter values. The planner's allocation cannot happen without an LSM, as long as some payments can be delayed without cost. We show that, in equilibrium with an LSM, there can be either too few or too many payments settled early compared with the planner's allocation, depending on the ...
Format expanded for Fedwire funds transfers
Recent developments in wholesale payments systems
Wholesale payments and settlement systems in G-10 countries have undergone significant change in recent years. Notably, central banks have sought to increase the safety and reliability of these systems. In this article, William R. Emmons describes two approaches that have been pursued. Significant progress has been achieved in strengthening (or "securing") many existing payments system arrangements based on net settlement. In addition, many new gross settlement systems have been created, and existing ones have been improved. The article also explores why private-sector financial ...