Higher capital requirements: The jury is in
Stephen Cecchetti 17 December 2014
Regulators forced up capital requirements after the Global Crisis – triggering fears in the banking industry of dire effects. This column – by former BIS Chief Economist Steve Cecchetti – introduces a new CEPR Policy Insight that argues that the capital increases had little impact on anything but bank profitability. Lending spreads and interest margins are nearly unchanged, while credit growth remains robust everywhere but in Europe. Perhaps the requirements should be raised further.
During the Basel III debate, a key concern was that higher capital requirements might damage economic growth. By forcing banks to increase their capitalisation, long-run growth would be permanently lower and the adjustment itself would put a drag on the recovery from the Great Recession. Unsurprisingly, the private sector saw catastrophe, while the official sector was more sanguine. The Institute of International Finance (2010) is the most sensationalist example of the former, and the Macroeconomic Assessment Group (2010a and 2010b) one of the most staid cases of the latter.1
bank capital, BASEL III, capital requirements, Macroprudential policy, capital buffers, countercyclical capital buffers, bank lending
Macroprudentialism – A new Vox eBook
Dirk Schoenmaker 15 December 2014
Macroprudentialism is now part of the standard macroeconomic toolkit but it involves a set of relatively untested policies. This column introduces a new VoX eBook that collects the thinking of a broad range of leading US and European economists on the matter. A consensus emerges on broad objectives of macroprudential supervision, but important disagreements remain among the authors.
Global interest rates have been extraordinarily low since the Global Financial Crisis. This recession-fighting monetary policy, however, may be inflating financial bubbles. Macroprudentialism is the policy that many central banks are using to reduce the chances that today’s low-for-long rates are sowing the seeds of future crises. Macroprudentialism, however, involves a set of relatively untested policies. Things as basic as the precise objective of macroprudential frameworks and their interactions with monetary policy and microprudential supervision are still not clear.
Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
Macroprudential policy, macroprudentialism ebook
What caused the great recession in the Eurozone? What could have avoided it?
Philippe Martin, Thomas Philippon 11 November 2014
Economists disagree over the origin of the Eurozone Crisis. This column uses a quantitative framework to sort through the various channels and policy impacts. It argues that fiscal and macroprudential policies are complements, not substitutes. Prudent fiscal policy is helpful but cannot by itself undo private leverage booms. Both prudent fiscal policies and macroprudential policies are required to stabilise the economy and make the Eurozone a viable monetary union.
There is a wide disagreement about the nature and cause of the Eurozone crisis. Some see it as driven by fiscal indiscipline, some emphasise excessive private leverage, while others focus on external imbalances, sudden stops, or competitiveness divergence due to fixed exchange rates, as these quotes illustrate:
Global crisis Macroeconomic policy
EZ crisis, Macroprudential policy, peripheral countries
Monetary policy and long-term trends
Charles A.E. Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth 03 November 2014
There has been a long-term downward trend in labour’s share of national income, depressing both demand and inflation, and thus prompting ever more expansionary monetary policies. This column argues that, while understandable in a short-term business cycle context, this has exacerbated longer-term trends, increasing inequality and financial distortions. Perhaps the most fundamental problem has been over-reliance on debt finance. The authors propose policies to raise the share of equity finance in housing markets; such reforms could be extended to other sectors of the economy.
There has been a long-term downward trend in the share and strength of labour in national income, which is depressing both demand and inflation. This has prompted ever more expansionary monetary policies. While understandable, indeed appropriate, within a short-term business cycle context, this has exacerbated longer-term trends, increasing inequality and financial distortions. Perhaps the most fundamental problem has been over-reliance on debt finance (leverage).
Financial markets Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
monetary policy, Inequality, debt, leverage, wages, labour share, globalisation, consumption, propensity to consume, fiscal policy, Ageing, interest rates, investment, asset prices, housing, house prices, exchange rates, global crisis, mortgages, sub-prime crisis, Macroprudential policy, structural reforms, balance sheets, deleveraging, equity, shared-equity mortgages, Help to Buy
The great mortgaging
Òscar Jordà, Alan Taylor, Moritz Schularick 12 October 2014
The Global Crisis prompted Lord Adair Turner to ask if the growth of the financial sector has been socially useful, catalysing an ongoing debate. This column turns to economic history to investigate whether the financial sector is too big. New long-run, disaggregated data on banks’ balance sheets show that mortgage lending by banks has been the driving force behind the financialisation of advanced economies. Real estate lending booms are chiefly responsible for financial crises and weak recoveries.
Understanding the causes and consequences of the rise of finance is a first order concern for macroeconomists and policymakers. The increasing size and leverage of the financial sector has been interpreted as an indicator of excessive risk taking1 and has been linked to the increase in income inequality in advanced economies,2 as well as to the growing political influence of the financial industry (Johnson and Kwak 2010). Yet surprisingly little is known about the driving forces behind these trends.
Economic history Financial markets Global crisis
household debt, household leverage ratios, Macroprudential policy
The impact of capital requirements on bank lending
Jonathan Bridges, David Gregory, Mette Nielsen, Silvia Pezzini, Amar Radia, Marco Spaltro 02 September 2014
Since the Global Crisis, support has grown for the use of time-varying capital requirements as a macroprudential policy tool. This column examines the effect of bank-specific, time-varying capital requirements in the UK between 1990 and 2011. In response to increased capital requirements, banks gradually increase their capital ratios to restore their original buffers above the regulatory minimum, reducing lending temporarily as they do so. The largest effects are on commercial real estate lending, followed by lending to other corporates and then secured lending to households.
The financial crisis has led to widespread support for greater use of time-varying capital requirements on banks as a macroprudential policy tool (see for example Yellen 2010 and Hanson et al. 2011). Policymakers aim to use these tools to enhance the resilience of the financial system, and, potentially, to curb the credit cycle. Under Basel III, national regulatory authorities will be tasked with setting countercyclical capital buffers over the economic cycle.
Macroprudential policy, capital requirements, regulation, bank regulation, BASEL III, Bank of England, financial crisis, bank lending, UK
Making macroprudential regulation operational
Anil K Kashyap , Dimitri Tsomocos, Alexandros Vardoulakis 18 July 2014
Do the extant workhorse models used in policy analysis support macroprudential and macrofinancial policies? This column argues that this is not the case and describes a new macroprudential model that stresses the special role played by banks. The model also accounts for two, often neglected, key principles of the financial systems. Some of the findings of the model could carry over to other, more general settings that satisfy these two principles.
The IMF staff (Benes et al. 2014) recently unveiled a new model that “has been developed at the IMF to support macrofinancial and macroprudential policy analysis”. In introducing the model they argue that “such new analytical frameworks require a major revamp of the conventional linear dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models”. We agree with Benes et al.
banks, Macroprudential policy, savers, model building
It’s time to deploy macroprudential policy: results from the Centre for Macroeconomics July Survey
Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan 08 July 2014
How should UK policy-makers respond to potential dangers to the economy from the housing market? As this column reports, a majority of respondents to the fourth monthly survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) think that house price dynamics do pose a risk to the UK’s recovery; and that macroprudential tools rather than traditional interest rate policy should be deployed to deal with this risk.
The Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) – an ESRC-funded research centre including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL) and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) – is today publishing the results of its fourth monthly survey.1 The surveys are designed to inform the public about the views held by leading UK-based macroeconomists on important questions about macroeconomics and public policy.
UK, housing market, Macroprudential policy
Model risk and the implications for risk management, macroprudential policy, and financial regulations
Jon Danielsson, Kevin James, Marcela Valenzuela, Ilknur Zer 08 June 2014
Risk forecasting is central to financial regulations, risk management, and macroprudential policy. This column raises concerns about the reliance on risk forecasting, since risk forecast models have high levels of model risk – especially when the models are needed the most, during crises. Policymakers should be wary of relying solely on such models. Formal model-risk analysis should be a part of the regulatory design process.
Risk forecasting is central to macroprudential policy, financial regulations, and the operations of financial institutions. Therefore, the accuracy of risk forecast models – model risk analysis – should be a key concern for the users of such models. Surprisingly, this does not appear to be the case. Both industry practice and regulatory guidance currently neglect the risk that the models themselves can pose, even though this problem has long been noted in the literature (see for example Hendricks 1996 and Berkowitz and O’Brien 2002).
financial crises, financial regulation, forecasting, risk management, Macroprudential policy