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In the previous posts in this series on the evolution of banks and financial intermediaries, my colleagues and I considered the extent to which banks still play a central role in financial intermediation, given the rise of the shadow banking system. There’s no arguing that financial intermediation has grown in complexity. And there’s also little doubt that the balance sheet of banks is not as representative of financial intermediation activity, and the associated risks, as it once was. Yet as we’ve argued, regulated bank entities have remained very much involved in virtually every aspect of modern financial intermediation, either directly or indirectly providing support to other entities that themselves operate more in the regulatory shadow. I suggest in this post that the insights from the series can be relevant to the design of modern regulation as well.
As noted in the introduction to this series, over the past two decades financial intermediation has evolved from a traditional, bank-centered system to one where nonbanks play an increasing role. For my contribution to the series, I document how the sources of bank holding companies’ (BHC) income have evolved. I find that the largest BHCs have changed the most; they’ve shifted their mix of income toward providing new financial services and are earning an increasing share of income outside of their commercial bank subsidiaries. In this post, I summarize my study’s key findings.
Dafna Avraham, Patricia Selvaggi, and James Vickery
When market observers talk about a “bank,” they are generally not referring to a single legal entity. Instead, large domestic banking organizations are almost always organized according to a bank holding company (BHC) structure, in which a U.S. parent holding company controls up to several thousand separate subsidiaries. This hierarchy of controlled entities generally includes domestic commercial banks primarily focused on lending and deposit-taking as well as a range of nonbanking and foreign firms engaged in a diverse set of business activities, such as securities dealing and underwriting, insurance, real estate, private equity, leasing and trust services, asset management, and so on. In this post, we present some results of our article and contribution to the special EPR banking volume, “A Structural View of U.S. Bank Holding Companies,” which uses public regulatory data to document trends and stylized facts about the size, organizational complexity, and scope of large U.S. BHCs.
As the previous posts have discussed, financial intermediation has evolved over the last few decades toward shadow banking. With that evolution, the traditional roles of banks as intermediaries between savers and borrowers are increasingly performed by more specialized entities involved in asset securitization. In this post, we summarize our published contribution to the series, in which we provide a comprehensive quantitative mapping of the primary roles in securitization. We document that banks were responsible for the majority of these activities. Their dominance indicates that the modern securitization-based system of financial intermediation is less “shadowy” than previously considered.
Benjamin H. Mandel, Donald Morgan, and Chenyang Wei
As Nicola Cetorelli observes in his introductory post, securitization is a key element of the evolution from banking to shadow banking. Recognizing that raises the central question in this series: Does the rise of securitization (and shadow banking) signal the decline of traditional banking? Not necessarily, because banks can play a variety of background (or foreground) roles in the securitization process. In our published contribution to the series, we look at the role of banks in providing credit enhancements. Credit enhancements are protection in the form of financial support against losses on securitized assets in adverse circumstances. They’re the “magic elixir” that enables bankers to convert pools of possibly high-risk loans or mortgages into highly rated securities. This post highlights some findings from our article. One key finding: Banks are not being eclipsed by insurance companies (which are part of the shadow banking system) in the provision of credit enhancements.
In yesterday’s post, Nicola Cetorelli argued that while financial intermediation has changed dramatically over the last two decades, banks have adapted and remained key players in the process of channeling funds between lenders and borrowers. In today’s post, we focus on an important change in the way banks provide credit to corporations—the substitution of the so-called originate-to-distribute model for the originate-to-hold model. Historically, banks originated loans and kept them on their balance sheets until maturity. Over time, however, banks began increasingly to distribute the loans they originated. With this change, banks limited the growth of their balance sheets but maintained a key role in the origination of corporate loans, and in the process contributed to the growth of nonbank financial intermediaries.
In this post, we examine a number of important housing market “vital signs” that collectively help to indicate the health status of local markets at the county level. The post also serves as an introduction to a set of interactive maps, based on home price index data from CoreLogic, that we will regularly update on the New York Fed's website for readers interested in continuing to track the convalescence of the U.S. housing markets. The maps show the year-over-year change in home prices for nearly 1,200 counties through May and include a video sequence tracking these price changes since 2003.
It used to be simple: Asked how to describe financial intermediation, you would just mention the word “bank.” Then things got complicated. As a result of innovation and legal and regulatory changes, financial intermediation has evolved in a way that invites us to question whether it revolves around banks anymore. The centerpiece of modern intermediation is the advent and growth of asset securitization: loans do not need to reside on the originator’s balance sheet until maturity any longer, but they can instead be packaged into securities and sold to investors. With securitization, banks’ balance sheets get replaced by a longer and more complex credit intermediation chain (Pozsar, Adrian, Ashcraft, and Boesky 2010). This evolution literally changes the picture of intermediation, as the figure below suggests. From a bank-centered system, we go to one where multiple entities interact with one another along the sequential steps of the chain, and concomitantly we hear increasingly of shadow banking, defined recently by the Financial Stability Board as a system of “credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regular banking system.”
In October 1974, with consumer inflation running at more than 10 percent annually, President Gerald Ford gave a now famous speech (watch video or read text) in which he proclaimed: “There is only one point on which all advisers have agreed: We must whip inflation right now.”
For many years, economists have struggled to explain the “equity premium puzzle”—the fact that the average return on stocks is larger than what would be expected to compensate for their riskiness. In this post, which draws on our recent New York Fed staff report, we deepen the puzzle further. We show that since 1994, more than 80 percent of the equity premium on U.S. stocks has been earned over the twenty-four hours preceding scheduled Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements (which occur only eight times a year)—a phenomenon we call the pre-FOMC announcement “drift.”
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