Does CFPB Oversight Crimp Credit?
We study how regulatory oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) affects mortgage credit supply and other aspects of bank behavior. We use a difference-in-differences approach exploiting changes in regulatory intensity and a size cutoff below which banks are exempt from CFPB scrutiny. CFPB oversight leads to a reduction in lending in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) market, which primarily serves riskier borrowers. However, it is also associated with a lower transition probability from moderate to serious delinquency, suggesting that tighter regulatory oversight ...
Import competition and household debt
We analyze the effect of import competition on household balance sheets from 2000 to 2007 using individual data on consumer finances. We exploit variation in exposure to foreign competition using industry-level shipping costs and initial differences in regions? industry specialization. We show that household debt increased significantly in regions where manufacturing industries are more exposed to import competition. A one standard deviation increase in exposure to import competition explains 30 percent of the cross-regional variation in household leverage growth, and is mostly driven by home ...
A Monthly Peek into Americans’ Credit During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Total household debt was roughly flat in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. But, for the first time, the dynamics in household debt balances were driven primarily by a sharp decline in credit card balances, as consumer spending plummeted. In an effort to gain greater clarity, the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System have acquired monthly updates for the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, based on anonymized Equifax credit report data. We’ve been closely watching ...
Interest-Only Mortgages and Speculation in Hot Housing Markets
Even as housing markets have temporarily shut down across the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic, housing remains a key sector that contributes disproportionately to fluctuations in overall economic activity and that will likely play an important role as the economy reopens. Interest in this market among research economists and policymakers intensified after the exceptional boom and bust in housing between 2003 and 2008. In this Chicago Fed Letter, we describe research in Barlevy and Fisher (2020)1 that examined patterns in the kinds of mortgages homebuyers took out in different cities during ...
Banking Trends: Skin in the Game in the CMBS Market
Issuers of commercial mortgage-backed securities must now retain a portion on their own books. What evidence is there that the rule will reduce risky lending?
Can We Take the “Stress” Out of Stress Testing? Applications of Generalized Structural Equation Modeling to Consumer Finance
Financial firms, and banks in particular, rely heavily on complex suites of interrelated statistical models in their risk management and business reporting infrastructures. Statistical model infrastructures are often developed using a piecemeal approach to model building, in which different components are developed and validated separately. This type of modeling framework has significant limitations at each stage of the model management life cycle, from development and documentation to validation, production, and redevelopment. We propose an empirical framework, spurred by recent developments ...
How the Federal Reserve's Large-Scale Asset Purchases (LSAPs) Influence Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) Yields and U.S. Mortgage Rates
We conduct an empirical analysis of the Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchases (LSAPs) on MBS yields and mortgage rates. The Federal Reserve's accumulation of MBS and Treasury securities lowered MBS yields and mortgage rates by more than what would have been suggested by changes in market expectations alone, suggesting that portfolio rebalancing effects of LSAPs are an important consideration for monetary policy transmission. Our estimates also suggest that the Federal Reserve must hold a substantial market share of agency MBS or of Treasury securities to significantly lower MBS yields ...
Crises in the Housing Market: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Lessons
The global financial crisis of the past decade has shaken the research and policy worlds out of their belief that housing markets are mostly benign and immaterial for understanding economic cycles. Instead, a growing consensus recognizes the central role that housing plays in shaping economic activity, particularly during large boom and bust episodes. This article discusses the latest research regarding the causes, consequences, and policy implications of housing crises with a broad focus that includes empirical and structural analysis, insights from the 2000's experience in the United ...
Villains or Scapegoats? The Role of Subprime Borrowers in Driving the U.S. Housing Boom
An expansion in mortgage credit to subprime borrowers is widely believed to have been a principal driver of the 2002?06 U.S. house price boom. Contrary to this belief, we show that the house price and subprime booms occurred in different places. Counties with the largest home price appreciation between 2002 and 2006 had the largest declines in the share of purchase mortgages to subprime borrowers. We also document that the expansion in speculative mortgage products and underwriting fraud was not concentrated among subprime borrowers.
Credit Score Doctors
We study how the existence of cutoffs in credit scores affects the behavior of homebuyers. Borrowers are more likely to purchase houses after their credit scores cross over a cutoff to qualify them for a higher credit score bin. However, the credit accounts of these individuals (crossover group) are more likely to become delinquent within four years following home purchases than the accounts of those who had stayed in the same bin (non-crossover group). The effect is not only concentrated in subprime bins, but in other bins as well. It is neither limited to pre-crisis period nor curtailed by ...