In this post, we follow up on the previous Liberty Street Economics post in this series by studying other impacts of extreme weather on the real sector. Data from the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS) shed light on how small businesses in the Second District are impacted by natural disasters (such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, droughts, and winter storms). Among our findings are that increasing shares of small business firms in the region sustain losses from natural disasters, with minority-owned firms suffering losses at a disproportionately higher rate than white-owned firms. For many minority-owned firms, these losses make up a larger portion of their total revenues. In a companion post, we will explore the post-disaster recovery of small firms in the Second District: how long do they remain closed and what are their sources of disaster relief?
Climate change could affect banks and the financial systems they anchor through various channels: increasingly extreme weather is one (Financial Stability Board, Basel Committee on Bank Supervision). In our recent staff report, we size up this channel by studying how U.S. banks, large and small, fared against disasters past. We find even the most destructive disasters had insignificant or small effects on bank stability and small and positive effects on bank income. We conjecture that recovery lending after disasters helps stabilize larger banks while smaller, local banks’ knowledge of “unmarked” (flood) hazards may help them navigate disaster risk. Federal disaster aid seems not to act as a bank stabilizer.