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63 posts on "Financial Intermediation"
December 2, 2022

Does Bank Monitoring Affect Loan Repayment?

decorative: photo of approved loan application

Banks monitor borrowers after originating loans to reduce moral hazard and prevent loan losses. While monitoring represents an important activity of bank business, evidence on its effect on loan repayment is scant. In this post, which is based on our recent paper, we shed light on whether bank monitoring fosters loan repayment and to what extent it does so.

July 5, 2022

The Fed’s Inaugural Conference on the International Roles of the U.S. Dollar

The U.S. dollar has played a preeminent role in the global economy since the second World War. It is used as a reserve currency and the currency of denomination for a large fraction of global trade and financial transactions. The status of the U.S. dollar engenders important considerations for the effectiveness of U.S. policy instruments and the functioning of global financial markets. These considerations include understanding potential factors that may alter the dominance of the U.S. dollar in the future, such as changes in the macroeconomic and policy environments or the development of new technologies and payment systems.

The U.S. Dollar’s Global Roles: Revisiting Where Things Stand

Photo: globe with currency symbols

Will developments in technology, geopolitics, and the financial market reduce the dollar’s important roles in the global economy?  This post updates prior commentary [herehere, and here], with insights about whether recent developments, such as the pandemic and the sanctions on Russia, might change the roles of the dollar. Our view is that the evidence so far points to the U.S. dollar maintaining its importance internationally.  A companion post reports on the Inaugural Conference on the International Roles of the U.S. Dollar jointly organized by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Bank of New York and held on June 16-17.

February 17, 2022

How (Un-)Informed Are Depositors in a Banking Panic? A Lesson from History

Photo: Depositors clamor to withdraw their savings from a bank in Berlin, 13 July 1931

How informed or uninformed are bank depositors in a banking crisis? Can depositors anticipate which banks will fail? Understanding the behavior of depositors in financial crises is key to evaluating the policy measures, such as deposit insurance, designed to prevent them. But this is difficult in modern settings. The fact that bank runs are rare and deposit insurance universal implies that it is rare to be able to observe how depositors would behave in absence of the policy. Hence, as empiricists, we are lacking the counterfactual of depositor behavior during a run that is undistorted by the policy. In this blog post and the staff report on which it is based, we go back in history and study a bank run that took place in Germany in 1931 in the absence of deposit insurance for insight.

January 31, 2022

Pricing Liquidity without Preemptive Runs

Image of drop of water in pool with dollars

Prime money market funds (MMFs) are vulnerable to runs. This was dramatically illustrated in September 2008 and March 2020, when massive outflows from prime MMFs worsened stress in the short-term funding markets and eased only after taxpayer-supported interventions by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. In this post, we describe how mechanisms like swing pricing that charge a price for liquidity can reduce the vulnerability of prime MMFs without triggering preemptive runs.

Posted at 7:00 am in Crisis, Financial Intermediation | Permalink
November 24, 2021

The Term Spread as a Predictor of Financial Instability

The term spread is the difference between interest rates on short- and long-dated government securities. It is often referred to as a predictor of the business cycle. In particular, inversions of the yield curve—a negative term spread—are considered an early warning sign. Such inversions typically receive a lot of attention in policy debates when they […]

November 22, 2021

Preemptive Runs and the Offshore U.S. Dollar Money Market Funds Industry

In March 2020, U.S. dollar-denominated prime money market funds (MMFs) suffered heavy outflows as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic increased in the United States and Europe. Investors redeemed their shares en masse not only from funds domiciled in the United States (“domestic”) but also from offshore funds. In this post, we use differences in the regulatory regimes of domestic and offshore funds to identify the impact of the redemption gates and liquidity fees recently introduced as part of MMF industry reforms in both the United States and Europe.

October 18, 2021

Were Banks Exposed to Sell-offs by Open-End Funds during the Covid Crisis?

Should open-end mutual funds experience redemption pressures, they may be forced to sell assets, thus contributing to asset price dislocations that in turn could be felt by other entities holding similar assets. This fire-sale externality  is a key rationale behind proposed and implemented regulatory actions. In this post, I quantify the spillover risks from fire sales, and present some preliminary results on the potential exposure of U.S. banking institutions to asset fire sales from open-end funds.

July 12, 2021

Tailoring Regulations

Regulations are not written in stone. The benefits derived from them, along with the costs of compliance for affected institutions and of enforcement for regulators, are likely to evolve. When this happens, regulators may seek to modify the regulations to better suit the specific risk profiles of regulated entities. In this post, we consider the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA) passed by Congress in 2018, which eased banking regulations for smaller institutions. We focus on one regulation—the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)—and assess how its relaxation affected newly exempt banks’ assets and liabilities, and the resilience of the banking system.

June 30, 2021

Hold the Check: Overdrafts, Fee Caps, and Financial Inclusion

Hold the Check: Overdrafts, Fee Caps, and Financial Inclusion

The 25 percent of low-income Americans without a checking account operate in a separate but unequal financial world. Instead of paying for things with cheap, convenient debit cards and checks, they get by with “fringe” payment providers like check cashers, money transfer, and other alternatives. Costly overdrafts rank high among reasons why households “bounce out” of the banking system and some observers have advocated capping overdraft fees to promote inclusion. Our recent paper finds unintended (if predictable) effects of overdraft fee caps. Studying a case where fee caps were selectively relaxed for some banks, we find higher fees at the unbound banks, but also increased overdraft credit supply, lower bounced check rates (potentially the costliest overdraft), and more low-income households with checking accounts. That said, we recognize that overdraft credit is expensive, sometimes more than even payday loans. In lieu of caps, we see increased overdraft credit competition and transparency as alternative paths to cheaper deposit accounts and increased inclusion.

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