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Risk Taking and Low Longer-term Interest Rates: Evidence from the U.S. Syndicated Loan Market
We use supervisory data to investigate risk taking in the U.S. syndicated loan market at a time when longer-term interest rates are exceptionally low, and we study the ex-ante credit risk of loans acquired by different types of lenders, including banks and shadow banks. We find that insurance companies, pension funds, and, in particular, structured-finance vehicles take higher credit risk when investors expect interest rates to remain low. Banks originate riskier loans that they tend to divest shortly after origination, thus appearing to accommodate other lenders' investment choices. These ...
Self-fulfilling Runs: Evidence from the U.S. Life Insurance Industry
Is liquidity creation in shadow banking vulnerable to self-fulfilling runs? Investors typically decide to withdraw simultaneously, making it challenging to identify self-fulfilling runs. In this paper, we exploit the contractual structure of funding agreement-backed securities offered by U.S. life insurers to institutional investors. The contracts allow us to obtain variation in investors' expectations about other investors' actions that is plausibly orthogonal to changes in fundamentals. We find that a run on U.S. life insurers during the summer of 2007 was partly due to self-fulfilling ...
Introducing a Series on the Evolution of Banks and Financial Intermediation
It used to be simple: Asked how to describe financial intermediation, you would just mention the word “bank.” Then things got complicated. As a result of innovation and legal and regulatory changes, financial intermediation has evolved in a way that invites us to question whether it revolves around banks anymore. The centerpiece of modern intermediation is the advent and growth of asset securitization: loans do not need to reside on the originator’s balance sheet until maturity any longer, but they can instead be packaged into securities and sold to investors. With securitization, ...
Small business lending: challenges and opportunities for community banks
The recent decline in small business lending (SBL) among U.S. community banks has spurred a growing debate about the future role of small banks in providing credit to U.S. small businesses. This paper adds to that discussion in three key ways. First, this research builds on existing evidence, suggesting that the decline in SBL by community banks is a trend that began at least a decade before the financial crisis. Second, the authors show that in the years preceding the crisis, small businesses increasingly turned to mortgage credit to fund their operations. Finally, this paper illustrates how ...