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Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Daniel Stackman, and Erik Vogt
Fifth in a five-part series
Securities brokers and dealers (“dealers”) engage in the business of trading securities on behalf of their customers and for their own account, and use their balance sheets primarily for trading operations, particularly for market making. Total financial assets of dealers in the United States have not shown any growth since 2009. This stagnation in their balance sheets raises the worry that dealers’ market-making capacity could be constrained, adversely affecting market liquidity. In this post, we investigate the stagnation of dealer balance sheets, focusing particularly on the boom and bust of the housing market.
The largest U.S. financial institutions conduct business around the world, maintaining a strong presence through branches and subsidiaries in foreign countries. This blog post highlights trends in their foreign ownership over the past twenty-five years, complementing recent research from the New York Fed on large and complex banks. We document a constant decline in the importance of foreign branches for U.S. financial institutions, an increase in the complexity of foreign subsidiary networks, and a shift of activity from Latin America and the Caribbean to Europe and other regions.
In August 2007, at the onset of the recent financial crisis, the Federal Reserve encouraged banks to borrow from the discount window (DW) but few did so. This lack of DW borrowing has been widely attributed to stigma—concerns that, if discount borrowing were detected, depositors, creditors, and analysts could interpret it as a sign of financial weakness. In this post, we review the history of the DW up until 2003, when the current DW regime was established, and argue that some past policies may have inadvertently contributed to a reluctance to borrow from the DW that persists to this day.
Unlike mortgage-backed and home equity-backed securities, collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), whose collateral is predominantly corporate loans, are slowly but steadily recovering. This revival, illustrated in the chart below, spotlights again a sector of nonagency structured finance that has been scrutinized for its investment practices. This post investigates the trading activities of CLO collateral managers. Understanding their investment strategies is crucial to assessing their effectiveness as financial intermediaries, including their role in financing leveraged buyouts, corporate recapitalizations, project finance, and their impact on bank loan underwriting standards. It is also relevant to the recent debate concerning the potential perils of the reemergence of CLOs.
Nina Boyarchenko, Thomas Eisenbach, and Or Shachar
In a previous post, “Mapping and Sizing the U.S. Repo Market,” our colleagues described the structure of the U.S. repurchase agreement (repo) market. In this post, we consider whether recent regulatory changes have changed the behavior of securities broker-dealers, who play a significant role in repo markets. We focus on the General Collateral Finance (GCF) Repo market, an interdealer market primarily using U.S. Treasury and agency securities as collateral. We find that some dealers use GCF Repo as a substantial source of funding for their inventories, while others primarily use GCF Repo to fine-tune their repo positions. Recent regulatory changes, such as the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR), may be contributing to reduced lending in the GCF Repo market.
In our previous post, we concluded that, in rating agencies’ views, there is no clear consensus on whether the Dodd-Frank Act has eliminated “too-big-to-fail” in the United States. Today, we discuss whether bond market participants share these views.
As we discussed in our post on Monday, the Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions to address whether banks remain “too big to fail.” Title II of the Act creates an orderly liquidation mechanism for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to resolve failed systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). In December 2013, the FDIC outlined a “single point of entry” (SPOE) strategy for resolving failing SIFIs that, in principle, should obviate bailouts. Under the SPOE, the FDIC will be appointed receiver of the top-tier parent holding company, and losses of a subsidiary bank will be assigned to shareholders and unsecured creditors of the holding company (in a “bail-in” arrangement). The company may be restructured by shrinking businesses, breaking it into smaller entities, liquidating assets, or closing operations to ensure that the resulting entities can be resolved in bankruptcy. Crucially, during this process, the healthy subsidiaries of the company, including any banks, will maintain normal operation, thus avoiding the need for bailouts to prevent systemic instability.
Did the Dodd-Frank Act end ‘‘too-big-to-fail’’ (TBTF)? In this series of two posts, we look at this question through the lens of rating agencies and financial markets. Today we begin by discussing rating agencies’ views on this topic.
Size is usually seen as the leading indication of the costs that a bank failure would impose on society. As a result, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 requires banks to have adequate capital and liquidity to mitigate default risk and imposes additional requirements on larger banks to enhance their safety. In this post, we show that it is highly uncommon for banks to reach sizes at which they are considered systemically important.
Valentin Haddad, Erik Loualiche, and Matthew Plosser
Buyout activity by financial investors fluctuates substantially over time. In the United States, peak years result in close to one hundred public-to-private buyout transactions and trough years in as few as ten. The typical buyout is primarily funded by debt, hence the term “leveraged buyout” (or LBO). As a result, analysis of buyout fluctuations has focused on the availability and cost of debt financing. However, in a recent staff report, we find that the overall cost of capital, rather than debt alone, is the primary driver of buyout activity. We argue that it is the common changes in both the cost of debt and the cost of equity—the aggregate risk premium—that are the source of booms and busts in buyout activity.
In most developed economies, banking is among the most regulated and supervised sectors. While “regulation” and “supervision” are often used interchangeably, these two activities are distinct. Banking supervision is a complement to regulation, but its scope is much broader than simply ensuring that an institution is in compliance with regulation. Despite the importance of supervision, information about it is often limited, both because of the heavy reliance upon banks’ confidential information and because many supervisory activities and actions are themselves confidential. In a recently released Staff Report, we shed more light on the topic by describing the Federal Reserve’s supervisory approach for large, complex financial institutions and how supervision of such firms is conducted on a day-to-day basis at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as part of this broader supervisory program.
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