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Limited commitment and central bank lending

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  • Marvin Goodfriend
  • Jeffrey M. Lacker

Abstract

Central bank or International Monetary Fund lending should be regarded as a line of credit, analogous to private line-of-credit products. Contractual provisions in private line-of-credit arrangements are designed to control managerial moral hazard and provide a means for profit-maximizing lenders to credibly commit to withdraw credit and induce closure when appropriate. The contractual mechanisms utilized by private line-of-credit providers are not effective for a central bank whose primary mission—to maintain financial system stability—can override its obligation to protect public funds and undercut its ability to limit its lending reach. We consider in some detail five broad approaches to a central bank’s commitment problem: good offices only, collateralization and early intervention, constructive ambiguity, extending supervisory and regulatory reach, and reputation building. Our analysis suggests that the first four institutional approaches cannot be counted on to overcome the fundamental forces inducing a central bank to lend. We argue that the only practical way for a central bank to credibly limit lending is for it to build up over time a reputation for restraint.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 99-02.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:99-02

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Keywords: Banks and banking; Central ; Bank loans;

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References

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  1. Jeffrey Lacker, 2001. "Collateralized Debt as the Optimal Contract," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 842-859, October.
  2. Huberman, Gur & Kahn, Charles M, 1988. "Limited Contract Enforcement and Strategic Renegotiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 471-84, June.
  3. Diamond, Douglas W., 1993. "Seniority and maturity of debt contracts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 341-368, June.
  4. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1988. "Financial deregulation, monetary policy, and central banking," Working Paper 88-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-43, May.
  6. Steven A. Sharpe, 1989. "Asymmetric information, bank lending, and implicit contracts: a stylized model of customer relationships," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1990. "Debt covenants and renegotiation," Working Papers 90-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Leonard I. Nakamura, 1993. "Recent research in commercial banking: information and lending," Working Papers 93-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Thomas H. Humphrey & Robert E. Keleher, 1984. "The Lender of Last Resort; A Historical Perspective," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 4(1), pages 275-321, Spring/Su.
  10. Birchler, Urs W, 2000. "Bankruptcy Priority for Bank Deposits: A Contract Theoretic Explanation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 813-40.
  11. Shockley Richard L., 1995. "Bank Loan Commitments and Corporate Leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 272-301, July.
  12. Anna J. Schwartz, 1992. "The misuse of the Fed's discount window," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 58-69.
  13. Marvin Goodfriend, 1997. "Monetary policy comes of age: a 20th century odyssey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-22.
  14. Thomas M. Humphrey & Robert E. Keleher, 1984. "The lender of last resort : a historical perspective," Working Paper 84-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  15. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1995. "Relationship Lending and Lines of Credit in Small Firm Finance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(3), pages 351-81, July.
  16. Charles Goodhart, 1988. "The Evolution of Central Banks," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570734, December.
  17. Stulz, ReneM. & Johnson, Herb, 1985. "An analysis of secured debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 501-521, December.
  18. Rajan, Raghuram & Winton, Andrew, 1995. " Covenants and Collateral as Incentives to Monitor," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1113-46, September.
  19. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  20. Huberman, Gur & Kahn, Charles M., 1988. "Strategic renegotiation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 117-121.
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