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Liquidity risk management

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  • Goodhart, C.
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    Abstract

    Liquidity and solvency are the heavenly twins of banking, frequently indistinguishable. An illiquid bank can rapidly become insolvent, and an insolvent bank illiquid. As Tim Congdon noted, (FT, September 2007), in the 1950s liquid assets were typically 30 percent of British clearing banks’ total assets, and these largely consisted of Treasury Bills and short dated government debt. Currently, such cash holdings are about ½ percent and traditional liquid assets about 1 percent of total liabilities. Nor have prior standards relating to maturity transformation been maintained. Increasing proportions of long-dated assets have been financed by relatively short-dated borrowing in wholesale markets. Bank conduits financing tranches of securitised mortgages on the basis of three month asset-backed commercial paper is but an extreme example of this. Northern Rock is another. Such time inconsistency issues are hard to resolve, especially in the middle of a (foreseen) crisis; it is worth noting that many, though not all, of the aspects of this present crisis were foreseen by financial regulators. They just did not have the instruments, or perhaps the will, to do anything about it. If, when trouble strikes, the lifeboats are manned immediately, with extra liquidity being provided on easy terms, then there is encouragement to the banks to build even more densely on the flood plain. Why should the banks bother with liquidity management when the Central Bank will do all that for them? The banks have been taking out a liquidity ‘put’ on the Central Bank; they are in effect putting the downside of liquidity risk to the Central Bank. What is surely needed now is a calm and comprehensive review of what the principles of bank liquidity management should be.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Banque de France in its journal Financial stability review.

    Volume (Year): (2008)
    Issue (Month): 11 (February)
    Pages: 39-44

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    Handle: RePEc:bfr:fisrev:2008:11:6

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    Cited by:
    1. Rötheli, Tobias F., 2010. "Causes of the financial crisis: Risk misperception, policy mistakes, and banks' bounded rationality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 119-126, April.
    2. Leo de Haan & Jan Willem van den End, 2012. "Bank liquidity, the maturity ladder, and regulation," DNB Working Papers 346, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Tirole, Jean, 2009. "Illiquidity and All Its Friends," TSE Working Papers 09-083, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Feb 2010.
    4. Pagès, Henri, 2013. "Bank monitoring incentives and optimal ABS," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 30-54.
    5. Sonia Ondo-Ndong & Laurence Scialom, 2008. "Northern Rock: The anatomy of a crisis – the prudential lessons," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-23, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
    6. Ahmed Arif & Ahmed Nauman Anees, 2012. "Liquidity risk and performance of banking system," Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 182-195, May.
    7. Mark Mink, 2011. "Procyclical Bank Risk-Taking and the Lender of Last Resort," DNB Working Papers 301, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Enisse Kharroubi & Edouard Vidon, 2009. "Liquidity, Moral Hazard, and Interbank Market Collapse," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(4), pages 51-86, December.
    9. Nikolaou, Kleopatra, 2009. "Liquidity (risk) concepts: definitions and interactions," Working Paper Series 1008, European Central Bank.

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