Measuring the Financial Stability Real Interest Rate, r**
Comparing our financial stability real interest rate, r** (“r-double-star”) with the prevailing real interest rate gives a measure of how vulnerable the economy is to financial instability. In this post, we first explain how r** can be measured, and then discuss its evolution over the last fifty years and how to interpret the recent banking turmoil within this framework.
Financial Vulnerability and Macroeconomic Fragility
What is the effect of a hike in interest rates on the economy? Building on recent research, we argue in this post that the answer to this question very much depends on how vulnerable the financial system is. We measure financial vulnerability using a novel concept—the financial stability interest rate r** (or “r-double-star”)—and show that, empirically, the economy is more sensitive to shocks when the gap between r** and current real rates is small or negative.
Banks’ Balance-Sheet Costs and ON RRP Investment
Daily investment at the Federal Reserve’s Overnight Reverse Repo (ON RRP) facility increased from a few billion dollars in March 2021 to more than $2.3 trillion in June 2022 and has stayed above $2 trillion since then. In this post, which is based on a recent staff report, we discuss two channels—a deposit channel and a wholesale short-term debt channel—through which banks’ balance-sheet costs have increased investment by money market mutual funds (MMFs) in the ON RRP facility.
Banks Runs and Information
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank (SB) has raised questions about the fragility of the banking system. One striking aspect of these bank failures is how the runs that preceded them reflect risks and trade-offs that bankers and regulators have grappled with for many years. In this post, we highlight how these banks, with their concentrated and uninsured deposit bases, look quite similar to the small rural banks of the 1930s, before the creation of deposit insurance. We argue that, as with those small banks in the early 1930s, managing the information around SVB and SB’s balance sheets is of first-order importance.
Bank Funding during the Current Monetary Policy Tightening Cycle
Recent events have highlighted the importance of understanding the distribution and composition of funding across banks. Market participants have been paying particular attention to the overall decline of deposit funding in the U.S. banking system as well as the reallocation of deposits within the banking sector. In this post, we describe changes in bank funding structure since the onset of monetary policy tightening, with a particular focus on developments through March 2023.
Monitoring Banks’ Exposure to Nonbanks: The Network of Interconnections Matters
The first post in this series discussed the potential exposure of banks to the open-end funds sector, by virtue of commonalities in asset holdings that expose banks to balance sheet losses in the event of an asset fire sale by these funds. In this post, we summarize the findings reported in a recent paper of ours, in which we expand the analysis to consider a broad cross section of non-bank financial institution (NBFI) segments. We unveil an innovative monitoring insight: the network of interconnections across NBFI segments and banks matters. For example, certain nonbank institutions may not have a meaningful asset overlap with banks, but their fire sales could nevertheless represent a vulnerability for banks because their assets overlap closely with other NBFIs that banks are substantially exposed to.
Enhancing Monitoring of NBFI Exposure: The Case of Open-End Funds
Non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) have grown steadily over the last two decades, becoming important providers of financial intermediation services. As NBFIs naturally interact with banking institutions in many markets and provide a wide range of services, banks may develop significant direct exposures stemming from these counterparty relationships. However, banks may be also exposed to NBFIs indirectly, simply by virtue of commonality in asset holdings. This post and its companion piece focus on this indirect form of exposure and propose ways to identify and quantify such vulnerabilities.
Deposit Betas: Up, Up, and Away?
Deposits make up an $18 trillion market that is simultaneously the main source of bank funding and a critical tool for households’ financial management. In a prior post, we explored how deposit pricing was changing slowly in response to higher interest rates as of 2022:Q2, as measured by a “deposit beta” capturing the pass-through of the federal funds rate to deposit rates. In this post, we extend our analysis through 2022:Q4 and observe a continued rise in deposit betas to levels not seen since prior to the global financial crisis. In addition, we explore variation across deposit categories to better understand banks’ funding strategies as well as depositors’ investment opportunities. We show that while regular deposit funding declines, banks substitute towards more rate-sensitive forms of finance such as time deposits and other forms of borrowing such as funding from Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs).
How Do Interest Rates (and Depositors) Impact Measures of Bank Value?
The rapid rise in interest rates across the yield curve has increased the broader public’s interest in the exposure embedded in bank balance sheets and in depositor behavior more generally. In this post, we consider a simple illustration of the potential impact of higher interest rates on measures of bank franchise value.
Insights from Newly Digitized Banking Data, 1867-1904
Call reports—regulatory filings in which commercial banks report their assets, liabilities, income, and other information—are one of the most-used data sources in banking and finance. Though call reports were collected as far back as 1867, the underlying data are only easily accessible for the recent past: the mid-1980s onward in the case of the FDIC’s FFIEC call reports. To help researchers look farther back in time, we’ve begun creating a complete digital record of this “missing” call report data; this data release covers 1867 through 1904, the bulk of the National Banking Era. Here, we describe the digitization process and highlight some of the interesting features of that era from a research perspective.