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4 posts from July 2017

July 31, 2017

Were Banks ‘Boring’ before the Repeal of Glass-Steagall?



LSE_Were Banks ‘Boring’ before the Repeal of Glass-Steagall?

Since the global financial crisis and Great Recession, many critics have called for regulatory and legislative reforms to restore a system of “boring” banks constrained to traditional banking activities like deposit taking and lending. The narrative underlying this argument holds that the partial repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act enabled banks to expand into nontraditional activities such as securities trading and underwriting, thereby contributing to the financial crisis some ten years later. The implication is that if we could restore the Glass-Steagall Act, banks would become boring once again, and financial stability would be enhanced. The reality, however, may be more complex; an in-depth look “under the hood” of banks’ organizational structure over the past forty years shows that bank holding companies (BHCs) began expanding into those financial activities in the early 1980s and that this expansion was, in fact, nearly complete by 1999.

Continue reading "Were Banks ‘Boring’ before the Repeal of Glass-Steagall?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Banks, Financial Institutions, Regulation | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 11, 2017

How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities



LSE_2017_How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities

In our previous post, we considered balance sheet mechanics related to the Federal Reserve’s purchase and redemption of Treasury securities. These mechanics are fairly straightforward and help to illustrate the basic relationships among actors in the financial system. Here, we turn to transactions involving agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which are somewhat more complicated. We focus particularly on what happens when households pay down their mortgages, either through regular monthly amortizations or a large payment covering some or all of the outstanding balance, as might occur with a refinancing.

Continue reading "How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet: The Case of Mortgage-Backed Securities" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 10, 2017

Just Released: Updated SOMA Portfolio and Income Projections



LSE_2017_Updated SOMA Portfolio and Income Projections

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Markets Group today published a report presenting updated staff projections for the future path of domestic securities held in the System Open Market Account (SOMA) and portfolio-related income. The updated projections incorporate very recent information and are provided as a tool for the public to further understand factors affecting the evolution of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet.

Continue reading "Just Released: Updated SOMA Portfolio and Income Projections" »

Posted by Blog Author at 10:00 AM in Federal Reserve, Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet



LSE_2017_How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet

The size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased greatly between 2009 and 2014 owing to large-scale asset purchases. The balance sheet has stayed at a high level since then through the ongoing reinvestment of principal repayments on securities that the Fed holds. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decides to reduce the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, it is expected to do so by gradually reducing the pace of reinvestments, as outlined in the June 2017 addendum to the FOMC’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans. How do asset purchases increase the size of the Fed’s balance sheet? And how would reducing reinvestments reduce the size of the balance sheet? In this post, we answer these questions by describing the mechanics of the Fed’s balance sheet. In our next post, we will describe the balance sheet mechanics with respect to agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

Continue reading "How the Fed Changes the Size of Its Balance Sheet" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments (8)

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