When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) wants to raise the target range for the fed funds rate, it raises the interest on reserve balances (IORB) paid to banks, the primary credit rate offered to banks, and the award rate paid to participants that invest in the overnight reverse repo (ON RRP) market to keep the fed funds rate within the target range (see prior Liberty Street Economics posts on this topic). When these rates change, market participants respond by adjusting the valuation of financial products, of which a significant category is deposits. Understanding how deposit terms adapt to changes in policy rates is important to understanding the impact of monetary policy more broadly. In this post, we evaluate the pass through of the fed funds rate to deposit rates (that is, deposit betas) over the past several interest rate cycles and discuss factors that affect deposit rates.
The U.S. federal funds market played a central role in the financial system during the 2007-09 crisis, because it was the market which provided banks with immediate liquidity, even late in the day. Interpreting changes in fed funds rates is notoriously difficult, however, as many of the economic drivers behind the rates are simultaneously changing. In this post, I highlight results from a working paper which untangles the impact of these economic drivers and measures their respective effects on the marketplace using data over a sample period leading up to and during the financial crisis. The analysis shows that the spread between fed funds sold and bought widened because of increases in counterparty risk. Further, there was a large increase in the supply of cash into this market, suggesting that banks viewed fed funds as a relatively safe place to invest cash in a crisis environment.
Aggregate reserves declined from nearly $3 trillion in August 2014 to $1.4 trillion in mid-September 2019, as the Federal Reserve normalized its balance sheet. This decline came to a halt in September 2019 when the Federal Reserve responded to turmoil in short-term money markets, with reserves fluctuating around $1.6 trillion in the early months of 2020. Then, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve dramatically expanded its balance sheet, both directly, through outright purchases and repurchase agreements, and indirectly, as a consequence of the facilities to support market functioning and the flow of credit to the real economy. In this post, we characterize the increase in reserves between March and June 2020, describing changes to the distribution and concentration of reserves.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will begin publishing the overnight bank funding rate (OBFR) sometime in the first few months of 2016.
The federal funds market is important to the framework and implementation of U.S. monetary policy.
Peel back the layers of complex financial institutions and instruments, and you’re
left with individuals demanding to be paid, and to be paid quickly.