Measuring Cov-Lite Right
More business loans today lack traditional covenants governing borrowers. Does that leave banks with fewer tools to ward off default?
A Microprudential Perspective on the Financial Risks of Climate Change
Remarks at the 2020 Climate Risk Symposium, Global Association of Risk Professionals (delivered via videoconference).
Do big banks have lower operating costs?
This study examines the relationship between bank holding company (BHC) size and components of noninterest expense (NIE) in order to shed light on the sources of scale economies in banking. Drawing on detailed expense information provided by U.S. banking firms in the memoranda of their regulatory filings, the authors find a robust negative relationship between size and normalized measures of NIE. The relationship is strongest for employee compensation expenses and components of ?other? noninterest expense such as information technology and corporate overhead expenses. In addition, the authors ...
Design of contingent capital with a stock price trigger for mandatory conversion
Contingent capital (CC), a regulatory debt that must convert into common equity when a bank?s equity value falls below a specified threshold (a trigger), does not in general lead to a unique equilibrium in the prices of the bank?s equity and CC. Multiplicity or absence of equilibrium arises because economic agents are not allowed to choose a conversion policy in their best interests. The lack of unique equilibrium introduces the potential for price manipulation, market uncertainty, inefficient capital allocation, and unreliability of conversion. Because CC may not convert to equity in a ...
Banking Supervision: The Perspective from Economics
Economists have extensively analyzed the regulation of banks and the banking industry, but have devoted considerably less attention to bank supervision as a distinct activity. Indeed, much of the banking literature has used the terms “supervision” and “regulation” interchangeably. This paper provides a heuristic review of the economics literature on microprudential bank supervision, highlighting broad findings and existing gaps, especially those related to work on supervision’s theoretical underpinnings. The theoretical literature examining the motivation for supervision (monitoring ...
How Our Region Differs
The banking industry has undergone a sea change in the last 30 years. Regulatory changes and technological advances have led to dramatic increases in the size and market share of large banks, while banks have shifted their activities notably away from commercial lending toward real estate lending. While these broad trends are true of banks in the Third District served by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, our regional banking market also differs in some interesting ways. Our small regional banks are larger and concentrate much more heavily on residential real estate lending and less on ...
Using Economic Experiments to Improve Contingent Convertible Capital Bonds
This Commentary describes experiments conducted to study alternative designs for a new type of financial security, CoCo bonds, that is being used in some European countries to manage the risk of financial crises. CoCo bonds are bank-issued debt that converts to equity when a trigger is breached. The conversion into equity serves to recapitalize a bank during financial distress, precisely when it is hardest to raise capital. The types of trigger used for all CoCos issued thus far are defined in terms of book capital. The experiments we conducted explore the effects of using triggers that are ...
Choosing Stress Scenarios for Systemic Risk Through Dimension Reduction
Regulatory stress-testing is an important tool for ensuring banking system health in many countries around the world. Current methodologies ensure banks are well capitalized against the scenarios in the test, but it is unclear how resilient banks will be to other plausible scenarios. This paper proposes a new methodology for choosing scenarios that uses a measure of systemic risk with Correlation Pursuit variable selection, and Sliced Inverse Regression factor analysis, to select variables and create factors based on their ability to explain variation in the systemic risk measure. The main ...
The impact of network size on bank branch performance
Despite recent innovations that might have reduced banks' reliance on brick-and-mortar branches for distributing retail financial services, the number of U.S. bank branches has continued to increase steadily over time. Further, an increasing percentage of these branches are held by banks with large branch networks. This paper assesses the implications of these developments by examining a series of simple branch performance measures and asking how these measures vary, on average, across institutions with different branch network sizes. The key findings are that banks with 100 to 500 branches ...
Bank Supervision Adapts to Pandemic Challenges
Communication between bank management and bank supervisors will remain vital to understanding the challenges banks are facing.