Liberty Street Economics
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August 10, 2017

Just Released: Economic Press Briefing Focuses on Regional Wage Inequality



LSE_Just Released: Economic Press Briefing Focuses on Regional Wage Inequality

The New York-Northern New Jersey region is home to some of the most and least unequal places in the nation, based on research presented today at our economic press briefing examining wage inequality in the region. Wage inequality—meaning the disparity in earnings between workers—has increased significantly in the United States since the early 1980s, though some places have much more wage inequality than others. Fairfield, Conn., for example, ranks as the most unequal metropolitan area in the country, and the New York–Northern New Jersey metropolitan area ranks in the top ten. On the other hand, most of the metropolitan areas in upstate New York are among the least unequal places in the country.

Posted by Blog Author at 10:00 AM in Labor Market , Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

August 09, 2017

Investor Diversity and Liquidity in the Secondary Loan Market



LSE_Investor Diversity and Liquidity in the Secondary Loan Market

Over the last two decades, the U.S. secondary loan market has evolved from a relatively sleepy market dominated by banks and insurance companies that trade only occasionally to a more active market comprising a diversified set of institutional investors, including collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), loan mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, brokers, and private equity firms. This shift resulted from the growing presence of these investors in the syndicates of corporate loans, as shown in the chart below. In 1991 the average term loan had just two different types of investors; by 2013 that number had grown to five.

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

August 07, 2017

Regulatory Incentives and Quarter-End Dynamics in the Repo Market



LSE_Regulatory Incentives and Quarter-End Dynamics in the Repo Market

Since the global financial crisis, central bankers and other prudential authorities have been working to design and implement new banking regulations, known as Basel III, to reduce risk in the financial sector. Although most features of the Basel III regime are implemented consistently across jurisdictions, some important details vary. In particular, banks headquartered in the euro area, Switzerland, and Japan report their leverage ratios—essentially, capital divided by total consolidated assets—as a snapshot of their value on the last day of the quarter. In contrast, institutions headquartered in the United States and the United Kingdom report most leverage ratio components as averages of their daily values over the quarter. In this post, we study the impact of this difference in regulatory implementation on rates and quantities borrowed in the U.S. repo market.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Banks , Financial Markets , Repo | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

August 04, 2017

A Closer Look at the Fed’s Balance Sheet Accounting



LSE_2017_A Closer Look at the Fed’s Balance Sheet Accountingt


An earlier post on how the Fed changes the size of its balance sheet prompted several questions from readers about the Federal Reserve’s accounting of asset purchases and the payment of principal by the Treasury on Treasury securities owned by the Fed. In this post, we provide a more detailed explanation of the accounting rules that govern these transactions.

August 02, 2017

Were Banks Ever ‘Boring’?



LSE_Were Banks Ever ‘Boring’?

In a previous post, I documented that much of the expansion into nontraditional activities by U.S. banks began well before the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, the legislation that repealed much of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The historical record actually contains many prior instances of the Glass-Steagall restrictions being circumvented, with nonbank firms allowed to operate as financial conglomerates and engage in activities that go beyond traditional banking. These broad industry dynamics might indicate that the business of banking tends to expand firm boundaries beyond a
traditional—“boring”—perimeter.

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.

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.

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.

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).

June 30, 2017

The Role of Central Bank Lending Facilities in Monetary Policy



Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 30, 2017. We are running it again today, August 14, in conjunction with a companion piece scheduled for August 16. An error in the table was corrected on July 3.

LSE_The Role of Central Bank Lending Facilities in Monetary Policy

Central bank lending facilities were vital during the financial crisis of 2007-08 when many banks and nonbank financial institutions turned to them to meet funding needs as private funding dried up. Since then, there has been renewed interest in the design of central bank lending facilities in the post-crisis period. In this post, we compare the Federal Reserve’s discount window with the lending facilities at three other major central banks: the Bank of England (BoE), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). We observe that, relative to the other central banks, the Fed’s discount window is less integrated into the monetary policy framework. In a follow-up post, we will discuss differences in the central banks’ counterparty and collateral policies.

Posted by Blog Author at 9:29 AM in Central Bank , Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

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Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and policy. The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Donald Morgan.

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