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Jel Classification:G2 

Discussion Paper
Crisis Chronicles: The Long Depression and the Panic of 1873

It always seemed to come down to railroads in the 1800s. Railroads fueled much of the economic growth in the United States at that time, but they required that a great deal of upfront capital be devoted to risky projects. The panics of 1837 and 1857 can both be pinned on railroad investments that went awry, creating enough doubt about the banking system to cause pervasive bank runs. The fatal spark for the Panic of 1873 was also tied to railroad investments—a major bank financing a railroad venture announced that it would suspend withdrawals. As other banks started failing, consumers and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160205

Discussion Paper
Bank Capital and Risk: Cautionary or Precautionary?

Do riskier banks have more capital? Banking companies with more equity capital are better protected against failure, all else equal, because they can absorb more losses before becoming insolvent. As a result, banks with riskier income and assets would hopefully choose to fund themselves with relatively more equity and less debt, giving them a larger equity cushion against potential losses. In this post, we use a top-down stress test model of the U.S. banking system?the Capital and Loss Assessment under Stress Scenarios (CLASS) model?to assess whether banks that are forecast to lose capital in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150202

Discussion Paper
How Does Supervision Affect Banks?

Supervisors monitor banks to assess the banks? compliance with rules and regulations but also to ensure that they engage in safe and sound practices (see our earlier post What Do Banking Supervisors Do?). Much of the work that bank supervisors do is behind the scenes and therefore difficult for outsiders to measure. In particular, it is difficult to know what impact, if any, supervisors have on the behavior of banks. In this post, we describe a new Staff Report in which we attempt to measure the impact that supervision has on bank performance. Does more attention by supervisors lead to lower ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160413

Discussion Paper
Common Stock Repurchases during the Financial Crisis

Large bank holding companies (BHCs) continued to pay dividends to their shareholders well after the onset of the recent financial crisis. Academics, industry analysts, and policymakers have noted that these payments reduced capital at these firms at a time when there was considerable uncertainty about the full extent of losses facing individual banks and the banking industry. But dividends are not the only means to return capital to shareholders; stock repurchases serve much the same function. In this post, I examine common stock repurchases by large BHCs during the financial crisis and show ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20130710

Report
COVID Response: The Main Street Lending Program

The Main Street Lending Program was created to support credit to small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations that were harmed by the pandemic, particularly those that were unsupported by other pandemic-response programs. It was the most direct involvement in the business loan market by the Federal Reserve since the 1930s and 1940s. Main Street operated by buying 95 percent participations in standardized loans from lenders (mostly banks) and sharing the credit risk with them. It would end up supporting loans to more than 2,400 borrowers and co-borrowers across the United ...
Staff Reports , Paper 984

Report
Bank integration and business volatility

We investigate how bank migration across state lines over the last quarter century has affected the size and covariance of business fluctuations within states. Starting with a two-state version of the unit banking model in Holmstrom and Tirole (1997), we conclude that the theoretical effect of integration on business cycle size is ambiguous, because some shocks are dampened by integration while others are amplified. Empirically, we find that integration diminishes employment growth fluctuations within states and decreases the deviations in employment growth across states. In other words, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 129

Discussion Paper
Up on Main Street

The Main Street Lending Program was the last of the facilities launched by the Fed and Treasury to support the flow of credit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The others primarily targeted Wall Street borrowers; Main Street was for smaller firms that rely more on banks for credit. It was a complicated program that worked by purchasing loans and sharing risk with lenders. Despite its delayed launch, Main Street purchased more debt than any other facility and was accelerating when it closed in January 2021. This post first locates Main Street in the constellation of COVID-19 credit programs, then ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210205

Discussion Paper
The CLASS Model: A Top-Down Assessment of the U.S. Banking System

Central banks and bank supervisors have increasingly relied on capital stress testing as a supervisory and macroprudential tool. Stress tests have been used by central banks and supervisors to assess the resilience of individual banking companies to adverse macroeconomic and financial market conditions as a way of gauging additional capital needs at individual firms and as a means of assessing the overall capital strength of the banking system. In this post, we describe a framework for assessing the impact of various macroeconomic scenarios on the capital and performance of the U.S. banking ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20140604

Discussion Paper
Outflows from Bank-Loan Funds during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant pressure on debt markets, especially those populated by riskier borrowers. The leveraged loan market, in particular, came under remarkable stress during the month of March. Bank-loan mutual funds, among the main holders of leveraged loans, suffered massive outflows that were reminiscent of the outflows they experienced during the 2008 crisis. In this post, we show that the flow sensitivity of the loan-fund industry to the COVID-19 crisis (and to negative shocks more generally) seems to be even greater than that of high-yield bond funds, which also ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200616a

Discussion Paper
Part II: Why Do Banks Keep All That “Fracking” Money?

In a recent post, I discussed the significant impact that ?fracking? and other unconventional energy development has had on bank deposits. Using this deposit windfall, I estimated how banks allocate these funds, finding that over the recent business cycle they reduced the portion used for loans. In this post, I will discuss what may have influenced the decision to lend these funds or to hold liquid assets like cash or securities.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20141203

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