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Author:Pence, Karen M. 

Working Paper
Technological Innovation and Discrimination in Household Finance

Technology has changed how discrimination manifests itself in financial services. Replacing human discretion with algorithms in decision-making roles reduces taste-based discrimination, and new modeling techniques have expanded access to financial services to households who were previously excluded from these markets. However, algorithms can exhibit bias from human involvement in the development process, and their opacity and complexity can facilitate statistical discrimination inconsistent with antidiscrimination laws in several aspects of financial services provision, including advertising, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-018

Working Paper
Auto Sales and Credit Supply

Vehicle purchases fell by more than 20 percent during the 2007-09 recession, and auto loan originations fell by a third. We show that vehicle purchases typically account for an outsized share of the contraction in economic activity during a recession, in part because a concurrent tightening in auto lending conditions makes car purchases less affordable for many households. We explore the link between lending conditions and vehicle purchases with a novel gauge of credit supply conditions--household perceptions of vehicle financing conditions as measured on the Reuters/University of Michigan ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-82

Working Paper
Crisis Liquidity Facilities with Nonbank Counterparties: Lessons from the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility

In response to immense strains in the asset-backed securities market in 2008 and 2020, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury twice launched the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). TALF was an unusual crisis facility because it provided loans to a wide range of nonbank financial institutions. Using detailed loan-level data unexplored by previous researchers, we study the behavior of nonbank borrowers in TALF. We find the extent to which the actions of these borrowers supported key program goals--stabilizing markets quickly, winding down the program when it was no longer ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-021

Working Paper
Wealth, Pensions, Debt, and Savings: Considerations for a Panel Survey

Several U.S. panel surveys measure household wealth. At the same time, many important questions about household wealth accumulation remain somewhat unresolved. We consider whether measurement error on the existing suite of longitudinal surveys hinders their usefulness for addressing these questions. We review the features of wealth data that make it difficult to collect and assess which assets and debts households are more likely to report accurately. We suggest several considerations in choosing between improving existing surveys and starting a new one.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-19

Discussion Paper
How Much Student Debt is Out There?

As is widely known, student loan debt has expanded significantly over the past decade or so and stands at historically high levels. But how much in total do students owe?
FEDS Notes , Paper 2015-08-07

Working Paper
How Much Are Car Purchases Driven by Home Equity Withdrawal?

Previous research indicates that changes in housing wealth affect consumer spending on cars. We find that home equity extraction plays only a small role in this relationship. Consumers rarely use funds from equity extraction to purchase a car directly, even during the mid-2000s housing boom; this finding holds across three nationally representative household surveys. We find in credit bureau data that equity extraction does lead to a statistically significant increase in auto loan originations, consistent with equity extraction easing borrowing constraints in the auto loan market. This ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-106

Working Paper
401(k)s and household saving: new evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

Although households have invested billions in 401(k) accounts, these balances may not be new saving if workers invest money that they would have saved in the program's absence. In this paper, I assess the effect of the 401(k) program on saving by comparing changes in the wealth of 401(k) eligible and ineligible households over the 1989-1998 period using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). This comparison may yield misleading estimates of the effect of 401(k)s on saving if eligible households have a higher taste for saving than ineligible households or if they begin the 1989-1998 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2002-6

Working Paper
Securitization markets and central banking: an evaluation of the term asset-backed securities loan facility

In response to the near collapse of US securitization markets in 2008, the Federal Reserve created the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, which offered non-recourse loans to finance investors' purchases of certain highly rated asset-backed securities. We study the effects of this program and find that it lowered interest rate spreads for some categories of asset-backed securities but had little impact on the pricing of individual securities. These findings suggest that the program improved conditions in securitization markets but did not subsidize individual securities. We also find ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2011-16

Working Paper
The rise in mortgage defaults

The main factors underlying the rise in mortgage defaults appear to be declines in house prices and deteriorated underwriting standards, in particular an increase in loan-to-value ratios and in the share of mortgages with little or no documentation of income. Contrary to popular perception, the growth in unconventional mortgages products, such as those with prepayment penalties, interest-only periods, and teaser interest rates, does not appear to be a significant factor in defaults through mid-2008 because borrowers who had problems with these products could refinance into different ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2008-59

Discussion Paper
Improving the Measurement of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Survey of Consumer Finances

The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is one of the main data sources in the United States for assessing and analyzing differences in wealth and financial well-being across families. In recent years, the SCF estimates of racial and ethnic wealth gaps have garnered considerable attention, in part because these disparities are so large and persistent.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2021-06-21-2

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