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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Series:Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 

Working Paper
Consumer-finance myths and other obstacles to financial literacy

The consumer-finance market for middle and upper-income households in the United States is characterized by a wide range of choices, both in terms of financial-services providers and the specific products and services available.1 Prices generally are determined in competitive markets. Consumer-protection regulation is extensive. Why then is there so much dissatisfaction with the U.S. consumer-finance market, even for prime-quality customers? ; This paper focuses not on inadequate choices, inadequate competition or regulation, but on the difficulty many middle and upper-income households ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2005-03

Working Paper
Executive compensation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Corporate governance-and executive-compensation arrangements in particular-should be an important component of the agenda to reform the housing GSEs. The GSEs' safety-and-soundness regulator-who is essentially the debtholders' and taxpayers' representative-must be admitted to the GSEs' boardroom in a way that is atypical of an ordinary publicly held company. This intrusion into the board's oversight of executive-compensation plans is justified given the GSEs' public purposes and their large potential cost to taxpayers. Prudent public policy requires greater supervisory control over executive ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2004-06

Working Paper
Labor productivity and job-market flows: trends, cycles, and correlations

I derive measures of U.S. job-separation and job-matching rates from aggregate Current Population Survey data. Using an unrestricted unobserved-components approach, I decompose these series into trends and cycles and compare the results with the trend and cyclical behavior of labor-productivity growth. Both transitory and permanent shocks to productivity are strongly positively correlated with fluctuations in the rate of job matching and negatively correlated with cyclical fluctuations in separation rates. Productivity growth thereby accounts for about a third of the overall variation in the ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2005-04

Working Paper
Dividends, stock repurchases and signaling: evidence from U.S. panel data

This paper exploits yearly accounting data from 1977 to 1994 to test the relative signaling power of dividends and net stock repurchases. The specification controls for potential agency cost and asset dissipation effects. Specifically, we regress changes in future income before extraordinary items on changes in dividends, changes in net stock repurchases, and a host of control variables. We also split the sample at 1981 to measure the impact of changes in the relative taxation of distribution methods. For the full twenty-year sample, only dividend changes are correlated with changes in future ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 1998-01

Working Paper
Are the causes of bank distress changing? can researchers keep up?

Since 1990, the banking sector has experienced enormous legislative, technological and financial changes, yet research into the causes of bank distress has slowed. One consequence is that current supervisory surveillance models may no longer accurately represent the banking environment. After reviewing the history of these models, we provide empirical evidence that the characteristics of failing banks has changed in the last ten years and argue that the time is right for new research employing new empirical techniques. In particular, dynamic models that utilize forward-looking variables and ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2004-07

Working Paper
The Financial Modernization Act: evolution or revolution?

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) removed the barriers that separated commercial banking from investment banking, merchant banking, and insurance activities. Did this legislation revolutionize the financial services industry by allowing Financial Holding Companies (FHCs) to exploit revenue efficiencies and cost economies, or did it merely formalize an evolutionary process of deregulation that was already well underway? Our evidence refutes the notion that the GLBA was a revolutionary event, at least in the short run. Using a combination of market and accounting data, we find that, to date, ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2004-05

Working Paper
Scale economies and geographic diversification as forces driving community bank mergers

Mergers of community banks across economic market areas potentially reduce both idiosyncratic and local market risk. Idiosyncratic risk may be reduced because the larger post merger bank has a larger customer base. Negative credit and liquidity shocks from individual customers would have smaller effects on the portfolio of the merged entity than on the individual community banks involved in the merger. Geographic dispersion of banking activities across economic market areas may reduce local market risk because an adverse economic development that is unique to one market area will not affect a ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2002-02

Working Paper
The demise of community banks? local economic shocks aren't to blame

A potentially troubling characteristic of the U.S. banking industry is the geographic concentration of many community banks* offices and operations. If geographic concentration of operations exposes banks to local market risk, we should observe a widespread decline in their financial performance following adverse local economic shocks. In addition, geographic diversification should help banks reduce risk significantly. By analyzing the performance of geographically concentrated U.S. community banks exposed to severe unemployment shocks in the 1990s, I find that banks are not systematically ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2002-03

Working Paper
Understanding the subprime mortgage crisis

We analyze the subprime mortgage crisis: an unusually large fraction of subprime mortgages originated in 2006 being delinquent or in foreclosure only months later. We utilize a loan-level database, covering about half of all US subprime mortgages, and identify two major causes. First, over the past five years, high loan-to-value borrowers increasingly became high-risk borrowers, in terms of elevated delinquency and foreclosure rates. Lenders were aware of this and adjusted mortgage rates accordingly over time. Second, the below-average house price appreciation in 2006-2007 further contributed ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2007-05

Working Paper
Financial condition of community banks

This article examines the condition of the banking industry in the United States, with an emphasis on community banks. In spite of the recent recession, the condition of the banking industry is substantially better than during the recession of 1990-91. There has been an increase in problem loans at both large and small banks during recent quarters, and nonperforming loans have risen relative to the allowance for loan and lease losses. Among the banks in each of the size groups in this article, however, ratios of equity to total assets in recent quarters are at about their highest levels since ...
Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers , Paper 2002-07




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