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How Do Banks Lend in Inaccurate Flood Zones in the Fed’s Second District?
In our previous post, we identified the degree to which flood maps in the Federal Reserve’s Second District are inaccurate. In this post, we use our data on the accuracy of flood maps to examine how banks lend in “inaccurately mapped” areas, again focusing on the Second District in particular. We find that banks are seemingly aware of poor-quality flood maps and are generally less likely to lend in such regions, thereby demonstrating a degree of flood risk management or risk aversion. This propensity to avoid lending in inaccurately mapped areas can be seen in jumbo as well as non-jumbo ...
Flood-Prone Basement Housing in New York City and the Impact on Low- and Moderate-Income Renters
Hurricane Ida, which struck New York in early September 2021, exposed the region’s vulnerability to extreme rainfall and inland flooding. The storm created massive damage to the housing stock, particularly low-lying units. This post measures the storm’s impact on basement housing stock and, following the focus on more-at-risk populations from the two previous entries in this series, analyzes the attendant impact on low-income and immigrant populations. We find that basements in select census tracts are at high risk of flooding, affecting an estimated 10 percent of low-income and immigrant ...
Comparing Physical Risk: The Fed’s Second District versus the Nation
In this post, we discuss the climate-related risks faced by the Federal Reserve’s Second District and compare these with risks faced by the nation as a whole. The comparison helps contextualize the risks while framing them in the broader context of a changing climate at the national level. We show that the continental Second District—an area consisting of New York State, the twelve northern-most counties of New Jersey, and Fairfield County in Connecticut—faces fewer and less severe climate-related physical risks than the nation as a whole. However, the areas that comprise the Second ...
How Bad Are Weather Disasters for Banks?
Not very. We find that weather disasters over the last quarter century had insignificant or small effects on U.S. banks’ performance. This stability seems endogenous rather than a mere reflection of federal aid. Disasters increase loan demand, which offsets losses and actually boosts profits at larger banks. Local banks tend to avoid mortgage lending where floods are more common than official flood maps would predict, suggesting that local knowledge may also mitigate disaster impacts.
Moving Out of a Flood Zone? That May Be Risky!
An often-overlooked aspect of flood-plain mapping is the fact that these maps designate stark boundaries, with households falling either inside or outside of areas designated as “flood zones.” Households inside flood zones must insure themselves against the possibility of disasters. However, costly insurance may have pushed lower-income households out of areas officially designated a flood risk and into physically adjacent areas. While not designated an official flood risk, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster data shows that these areas are still at considerable risk ...