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How Bank Reserves Are Distributed Matters. How You Measure Their Distribution Matters Too.
Changes in the distribution of banks’ reserve balances are important since they may impact conditions in the federal funds market and alter trading dynamics in money markets more generally. In this post, we propose using the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient as a new approach to measuring reserve concentration. Since 2013, concentration, as captured by the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient, has co-moved with aggregate reserves, decreasing as aggregate reserves declined (such as in 2015-18) and increasing as aggregate reserves increased (such as at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic).
Market Concentration in Fintech
This paper discusses concentration in consumer credit markets with a focus on fintech lenders and residential mortgages. We present evidence that shows that concentration among fintech lenders is significantly higher than that for bank lenders and other nonbank lenders. The data also show that the overall concentration in mortgage lending has declined between 2011 and 2019, driven mostly by a reduction in concentration among bank lenders. We present a simple model to show that changes in lender financial technology (interpreted as improvements in quality of loan services) explain more than ...
Stress testing effects on portfolio similarities among large US Banks
We use an expansive regulatory loan-level dataset to analyze how the portfolios of the largest US banks have evolved since 2011. In particular, we analyze how the commercial and industrial and commercial real estate loan portfolios have changed in response to stress-testing requirements stipulated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. We find that the largest US banks, which are subject to stress testing, have become more similar since the current form of the stress testing was implemented in 2011. We also find that banks with poor stress test results tend to adjust their portfolios in a way that makes ...
Fire-sale spillovers and systemic risk
We reveal and track over time the factors making the financial system vulnerable to fire sales by constructing an index of aggregate vulnerability. The index starts increasing in 2004, before any other major systemic risk measure, more than doubling by 2008. The fire-sale-specific factors of delevering speed and concentration of illiquid assets account for the majority of this increase. Individual banks? contributions to aggregate vulnerability are an excellent five-year-ahead predictor of SRISK, one of the most prominent systemic risk measures. Had our estimates been available at the time, ...
How Does Market Power Affect Fire-Sale Externalities?
An important role of capital and liquidity regulations for financial institutions is to counteract inefficiencies associated with “fire-sale externalities,” such as the tendency of institutions to lever up and hold illiquid assets to the extent that their collective actions increase financial vulnerabilities. However, theoretical models that study such externalities commonly assume perfect competition among financial institutions, in spite of high (and increasing) financial sector concentration. In this post, which is based on our forthcoming article, we consider instead how the effects ...
The Firm Size-Leverage Relationship and Its Implications for Entry and Business Concentration
Larger firms (by sales or employment) have higher leverage. This pattern is explained using a model in which firms produce multiple varieties, acquire new varieties from their inventors, and borrow against the future cash flow of the firm with the option to default. A variety can die with a constant probability, implying that firms with more varieties (bigger firms) have a lower variance of sales growth and, in equilibrium, higher leverage. In this setup, a drop in the risk-free rate increases the value of an acquisition more for bigger firms because of their higher leverage: They can (and ...
How Competitive are U.S. Treasury Repo Markets?
The Treasury repo market is at the center of the U.S. financial system, serving as a source of secured funding as well as providing liquidity for Treasuries in the secondary market. Recently, results published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) raised concerns that the repo market may be dominated by as few as four banks. In this post, we show that the secured funding portion of the repo market is competitive by demonstrating that trading is not concentrated overall and explaining how the pricing of inter-dealer repo trades is available to a wide range of market participants. By ...