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 ...
Identifying term interbank loans from Fedwire payments data
Interbank markets for term maturities experienced great stress during the 2007-09 financial crisis, as illustrated by the behavior of the one- and three-month Libor. Despite widespread interest in these markets, little data is available on dollar interbank lending for maturities beyond overnight. We develop a methodology to infer information about individual term dollar interbank loans settled through the Fedwire Funds Service, the large-value bank payment system operated by the Federal Reserve Banks. We find a sharp increase in the dispersion of inferred term interbank interest rates, a ...
Changes in the timing distribution of Fedwire funds transfers
The Federal Reserve's Fedwire funds transfer service - the biggest large-value payments system in the United States - has long displayed a peak of activity in the late afternoon. Theory suggests that the concentration of late-afternoon Fedwire activity reflects coordination among participating banks to reduce liquidity costs, delay costs, and credit risk; as these costs and risk change over time, payment timing most likely will be affected. This article seeks to quantify how the changing environment in which Fedwire operates has affected the timing of payment value transferred within the ...
Liquidity effects of the events of September 11, 2001
Banks rely heavily on incoming payments from other banks to fund their own payments. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, destroyed facilities in Lower Manhattan, leaving some banks unable to send payments through the Federal Reserve's Fedwire payments system. As a result, many banks received fewer payments than expected, causing unexpected shortfalls in banks' liquidity. These disruptions also made it harder for banks to redistribute balances across the banking system in a timely manner. In this article, the authors measure the payments responses of banks to the receipt of payments ...
Future Fedline version promises faster service
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 ...
Evaluating the quality of fed funds lending estimates produced from Fedwire payments data
A number of empirical analyses of interbank lending rely on indirect inferences from individual interbank transactions extracted from payments data using algorithms. In this paper, we conduct an evaluation to assess the ability of identifying overnight U.S. fed funds activity from Fedwire payments data. We find evidence that the estimates extracted from the data are statistically significantly correlated with banks' fed funds borrowing as reported on the FRY-9C. We find similar associations for fed funds lending, although the correlations are lower. To be conservative, we believe that the ...
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 ...
Quantifying the benefits of a liquidity-saving mechanism
This paper attempts to quantify the benefits associated with operating a liquidity-saving mechanism (LSM) in Fedwire, the large-value payment system of the Federal Reserve. Calibrating the model of Martin and McAndrews (2008), we find that potential gains are large compared to the likely cost of implementing an LSM, on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars per day.