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The Odd Behavior of Repo Haircuts during the Financial Crisis
Since the financial crisis began, there’s been substantial debate on the role of haircuts in U.S. repo markets. (The haircut is the value of the collateral in excess of the value of the cash exchanged in the repo; see our blog post for more on repo markets.) In an influential paper, Gorton and Metrick show that haircuts increased rapidly during the crisis, a phenomenon they characterize as a general “run on repo.” Consequently, some policymakers and academics have considered whether regulating haircuts might help stabilize the repo markets, for example, by setting a minimum level so ...
Are Higher Haircuts Better? A Paradox
Repurchase agreement (repo) markets played an important role in the 2007-09 financial crisis in the United States, and much discussion since then has focused on the role of repo haircuts. A repo is essentially a loan collateralized by securities. Typically, the value of the securities exceeds the value of the loan and the amount of overcollateralization corresponds to the haircut. In a 2010 paper, Yale?s Gary Gorton and Andy Metrick identified a dramatic increase in haircuts in the bilateral segment of the repo market, which they interpreted as a run on repo. Separately, an industry task ...
Liquidity Windfalls: The Consequences of Repo Rehypothecation
This paper presents a model of repo rehypothecation in which dealers intermediate funds and collateral between cash lenders (e.g., money market funds) and prime brokerage clients (e.g., hedge funds). Dealers take advantage of their position as intermediaries, setting different repo terms with each counterparty. In particular, the difference in haircuts represents a positive cash balance for the dealer that can be an important source of liquidity. The model shows that dealers with higher default risk are more exposed to runs by collateral providers than to runs by cash lenders, who are ...