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119 posts on "Financial Institutions"

September 30, 2015

Natural Experiment Sheds Light on the Market Effects of Herding


Pension funds are expected to behave in a patient, countercyclical manner, making the most of low valuations over the business cycle to achieve high returns. Such behavior provides liquidity and stability to the financial system. However, this belief has come under question. A large theoretical literature has emerged which looks at how short-term considerations affecting these institutional investors might arise from relative performance concerns or from the influence of other incentives introduced by market and regulatory monitoring. Such considerations might incentivize fund managers to mimic others and herd toward common assets. Given the sizable wealth under management by these investors, such herding behavior can potentially have large effects on asset prices both in the short and long run.

Continue reading "Natural Experiment Sheds Light on the Market Effects of Herding" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 28, 2015

Same Name, New Businesses: Evolution in the Bank Holding Company


When we think of banks, we typically have in mind our local bank branch that stores deposits and issues mortgages or business loans. Prima facie there is nothing wrong with this image. After all, there are still almost 6,000 unique commercial banks in the United States that specialize in deposit-taking and loan-making; when we include thrifts and credit unions, this number more than doubles. What we typically forget, however, is that most commercial banks are subsidiaries of larger bank holding companies (BHCs), and in fact nearly all commercial bank assets fall under such BHCs. This post presents a first in-depth analysis of the evolving organizational structure of U.S. bank holding companies over the last twenty-five years. We present a unique new database that details BHC structure at a level previously unavailable in any systematic way.

Continue reading "Same Name, New Businesses: Evolution in the Bank Holding Company" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 22, 2015

Do Better Bank Services Have a Hidden Cost?


You walk into a bank branch, check in hand. You find yourself in a well-lit space with modern furnishings, and you help yourself to a cup of freshly brewed coffee, courtesy of the bank. Neatly dressed assistants in uniform stand in a row, ready to attend to customers at a moment’s notice, and in fact, one of them approaches you to help you deposit your check. Having finished your business, you leave feeling reassured that such a customer-oriented organization is diligently tending to your hard-earned money. But what could possibly be missing?

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

September 21, 2015

Are BHCs Mimicking the Fed’s Stress Test Results?


In March, the Federal Reserve and thirty-one large bank holding companies (BHCs) disclosed their annual Dodd-Frank Act stress test (DFAST) results. This is the third year in which both the BHCs and the Fed have published their projections. In a previous post, we looked at whether the Fed’s and the BHCs’ stress test results are converging in the aggregate and found mixed results. In this post, we look at stress test projections made by individual BHCs. If the Fed’s projections are very different from a BHC’s in one year, do the BHC projections change in the following year to close this gap? Or are year-to-year changes in BHC stress test projections driven more by changes in underlying risk factors? Evidence of BHCs mimicking the Fed would be problematic if it meant that the BHCs are not really independently modelling their own risks. Convergence poses a potential risk to the financial system, since a financial system with monoculture in risk measurement models could be less stable than one in which firms use diverse models that collectively might be more likely to identify emerging risks.

Continue reading "Are BHCs Mimicking the Fed’s Stress Test Results?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 21, 2015

What’s Driving Dealer Balance Sheet Stagnation?

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.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 11, 2015

Around the World in 8,379 Foreign Entities


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.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, International Economics | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 10, 2015

History of Discount Window Stigma

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.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 03, 2015

Investigating the Trading Activity of CLO Portfolio Managers

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.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2015

Have Dealers' Strategies in the GCF Repo© Market Changed?

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.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 01, 2015

What Do Bond Markets Think about “Too-Big-to-Fail” Since Dodd-Frank?

Too-Big-to-Fail Since Dodd-Frank

Second in a two-part series
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.

Continue reading "What Do Bond Markets Think about “Too-Big-to-Fail” Since Dodd-Frank?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (0)
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