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
Capital controls in the 21st century
Barry Eichengreen, Andrew K Rose 05 June 2014
Since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, opposition to the use of capital controls has weakened, and some economists have advocated their use as a macroprudential policy instrument. This column shows that capital controls have rarely been used in this way in the past. Rather than moving with short-term macroeconomic variables, capital controls have tended to vary with financial, political, and institutional development. This may be because governments have other macroeconomic policy instruments at their disposal, or because suddenly imposing capital controls would send a bad signal.
Capital controls are back. The IMF (2012) has softened its earlier opposition to their use. Some emerging markets – Brazil, for example – have made renewed use of controls since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. A number of distinguished economists have now suggested tightening and loosening controls in response to a range of economic and financial issues and problems. While the rationales vary, they tend to have in common the assumption that first-best policies are unavailable and that capital controls can be thought of as a second-best intervention.
IMF, capital flows, global financial crisis, capital controls, capital, Macroprudential policy
Estimating the impact of changes in aggregate bank capital requirements during an upswing
Joseph Noss, Priscilla Toffano 06 April 2014
The impact of tighter regulatory capital requirements during an economic upswing is a key question in macroprudential policy. This column discusses research suggesting that an increase of 15 basis points in aggregate capital ratios of banks operating in the UK is associated with a median reduction of around 1.4% in the level of lending after 16 quarters. The impact on quarterly GDP growth is statistically insignificant, a result that is consistent with firms substituting away from bank credit and towards that supplied via bond markets.
The recent financial crisis and economic contraction that followed highlighted the crucial role that banks play in facilitating the extension of credit and enabling economic growth. This underlies the economic rationale for imposing regulations on the banking industry, including minimum capital requirements designed to mitigate risks banks would not otherwise account for in their behaviour.
regulations, bank regulation, banking, capital requirements, banks, BASEL III, credit, Macroprudential policy, bank capital
How much is enough? The case of the Resolution Fund in Europe
Thomas Huertas, María J Nieto 18 March 2014
The European Resolution Fund is intended to reach €55 billion – much less than the amount of public assistance required by individual institutions during the recent financial crisis. This column argues that the Resolution Fund can nevertheless be large enough if it forms part of a broader architecture resting on four pillars: prudential regulation and supervision, ‘no forbearance’, adequate ‘reserve capital’, and provision of liquidity to the bank-in-resolution. By capping the Resolution Fund, policymakers have reinforced the need to ensure that investors, not taxpayers, bear the cost of bank failures.
During the crisis, individual institutions such as Hypo Real Estate required public assistance of €100 billion or more.1 So how can a European Resolution Fund of only €55 billion possibly suffice for all banks in the Eurozone?
It could, provided the Fund is part of a well-designed architecture for regulation, supervision, and resolution, that makes banks not only less likely to fail but also safe to fail – meaning that they can be resolved without cost to the taxpayer and without significant disruption to financial markets or the economy at large.
EU institutions Financial markets International finance
eurozone, regulation, banking, systemic risk, microprudential regulation, bank resolution, Macroprudential policy, bail-in, European Resolution Fund
The interaction between monetary and macroprudential policies
Stijn Claessens, Fabian Valencia 14 March 2013
Inflation targeting once seemed sufficient, but the Global Crisis showed that maintaining financial stability and price stability requires more than the monetary-policy tool. We are witnessing the rise of macroprudential policy. This column discusses how monetary and macroprudential policies interact and what it means for policy and institutional design. Regardless of whether both policies are assigned to the same authority or to two authorities; separate decision-making, accountability and communication structures are required.
In the decades prior to the crisis, macroeconomic management evolved to assign a strong role to monetary policy, with a primary focus on price stability. The framework of monetary policy was broadly converging toward one with an inflation target (explicit or implicit) and a short-term interest rate as a tool (Blanchard, Dell’Ariccia and Mauro 2010). While boom-bust cycles in asset prices and credit were observed prior to the recent crisis, these did not seriously challenge the prevailing paradigm.
Global governance Monetary policy
Macroprudential supervision in banking union
Dirk Schoenmaker 09 December 2012
Eurozone banking union discussions are full of questions about the scope of Eurozone microprudential bank supervision. Yet, this column argues that there is surprisingly little debate on the macroprudential supervision that is necessary to safeguard the wider European financial system. After all it is macro developments, such as fast rising housing prices, that lie at the heart of the ongoing crisis in Europe. To safeguard the financial system, Eurozone macroprudential tools should be under the ECB, separate from microprudential functions, with input from national central banks when differentiation is necessary.
There is a strong tendency to focus on the stability and soundness of individual banks. Supervisors may thus be bogged down by the details of these banks, while losing sight of emerging imbalances in the wider financial system. In the heated debate about the Single Supervisory Mechanism, policymakers are preoccupied with issues such as the range of supervision – all 6000 Eurozone banks, or only the large cross-border banks? – and the division of labour between the ECB and the national supervisors.
EU institutions EU policies Europe's nations and regions
Eurozone crisis, Macroprudential policy, banking union