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124 posts on "Financial Institutions"

October 15, 2015

Evaluating the Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac


In September 2008, the U.S. government engineered a dramatic rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, placing the two firms into conservatorship and committing billions of taxpayer dollars to stabilize their financial position. While these actions were characterized at the time as a temporary “time out,” seven years later the firms remain in conservatorship and their ultimate fate is uncertain. In this post, we evaluate the success of the 2008 rescue on several key dimensions, drawing from our recent research article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

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Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Housing | Permalink | Comments (5)

October 14, 2015

Dealers’ Positions and the Auction Cycle

The aftermath of the financial crisis and changes in technology and regulation have spurred a spirited discussion of dealers’ evolving role in financial markets. One such role is to buy securities at auction and sell them off to investors over time. We assess this function using data on primary dealers’ positions in benchmark Treasury securities, released by the New York Fed since April 2013 and described in this earlier Liberty Street Economics post.

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

October 08, 2015

Redemption Risk of Bond Mutual Funds and Dealer Positioning

Fifth in a six-part series
Market participants have recently voiced concerns that bond markets seem to become illiquid precisely when they want to sell bonds. Some possible reasons for a decline in corporate bond market liquidity in times of stress include the increasing share of corporate bond ownership by mutual funds and the reduced share of corporate bond ownership by dealers. In this post, we examine the potential effects of outflows from bond mutual funds and the role of dealers’ positioning in corporate bonds.

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

October 07, 2015

Changes in the Returns to Market Making

Fourth in a six-part series

Since the financial crisis, major U.S. banking institutions have increased their capital ratios in response to tighter capital requirements. Some market analysts have asserted that the higher capital and liquidity requirements are driving up the costs of market making and reducing market liquidity. If regulations were, in fact, increasing the cost of market making, one would expect to see a rise in the expected returns to that activity. In this post, we estimate market-making returns in equity and corporate bond markets to assess the impact of regulations.

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

October 05, 2015

Has U.S. Corporate Bond Market Liquidity Deteriorated?

First in a six-part series
Commentators have argued that market liquidity has deteriorated in recent years as regulatory changes have reduced banks’ ability and willingness to make markets. In the corporate debt market, dealer positions, which are considered essential to good liquidity, have indeed declined, even as issuance and outstanding debt have increased. But is there evidence of reduced market liquidity? In previous posts, we discussed these issues in the context of the U.S. Treasury securities market. In this post, we focus on the U.S. corporate bond market, reviewing both price- and quantity-based liquidity measures, including trading volume, trade size, bid-ask spreads, and price impact.

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Posted by Blog Author at 11:02 AM in Financial Institutions, Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (4)

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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

Continue reading "What’s Driving Dealer Balance Sheet Stagnation?" »

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