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Understanding the accumulation of bank and thrift reserves during the U.S. financial crisis

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  • Chang, Su-Hsin
  • Contessi, Silvio
  • Francis, Johanna L.

Abstract

The level of aggregate excess reserves held by U.S. depository institutions increased significantly at the peak of the 2007–2009 financial crisis. Although the amount of aggregate reserves is determined almost entirely by the policy initiatives of the central bank that act on the asset side of its balance sheet, the motivations of individual banks in accumulating reserves differ and respond to the impact of changes in the economic environment on individual institutions. We undertake a systematic analysis of this massive accumulation of excess reserves using bank-level data for more than 7000 commercial banks and almost 1000 savings institutions during the U.S. financial crisis. We propose a testable stochastic model of reserves determination when interest is paid on reserves, which we estimate using bank-level data and censored regression methods. We find evidence primarily of a precautionary motive for reserves accumulation with some notable heterogeneity in the response of reserves accumulation to external and internal factors of the largest banks compared with smaller banks. We combine propensity score matching and a difference-in-differences approach to determine whether the beneficiaries of the Capital Purchase Program of the Troubled Asset Relief Program accumulated less cash, including reserves, than non-beneficiaries. Contrary to anecdotal evidence, we find that banks that participated in the program accumulated less cash, including reserves, than nonparticipants in the initial quarters after the capital injection.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang, Su-Hsin & Contessi, Silvio & Francis, Johanna L., 2014. "Understanding the accumulation of bank and thrift reserves during the U.S. financial crisis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 78-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:43:y:2014:i:c:p:78-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2014.02.007
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    2. Güntner, Jochen H.F., 2015. "The federal funds market, excess reserves, and unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 225-250.
    3. Allen N. Berger & Raluca Roman & John Sedunov, 2016. "Do bank bailouts reduce or increase systemic risk? the effects of TARP on financial system stability," Research Working Paper RWP 16-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    4. Shesadri Banerjee & Parantap Basu & Chetan Ghate, 2020. "A Monetary Business Cycle Model For India," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 58(3), pages 1362-1386, July.
    5. Beck, Thorsten & Colciago, Andrea & Pfajfar, Damjan, 2014. "The role of financial intermediaries in monetary policy transmission," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-11.
    6. Baldo, Luca & Hallinger, Benoît & Helmus, Caspar & Herrala, Niko & Martins, Débora & Mohing, Felix & Petroulakis, Filippos & Resinek, Marc & Vergote, Olivier & Usciati, Benoît & Wang, Yizhou, 2017. "The distribution of excess liquidity in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 200, European Central Bank.
    7. Hoffmann, Peter & Sigaux, Jean-David, 2020. "Determinants of excess reserve holdings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    8. Allen N. Berger & Raluca Roman, 2015. "Did saving Wall Street really save Main Street : the real effects of TARP on local economic conditions," Research Working Paper RWP 15-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    9. Mamun, Abdullah & Tannous, George & Zhang, Sicong, 2021. "Do regulatory bank mergers improve operating performance?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 152-174.
    10. Huberto M. Ennis & Alexander L. Wolman, 2015. "Large Excess Reserves in the United States: A View from the Cross-Section of Banks," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(1), pages 251-289, January.
    11. Okoro E.U. Okoro & Charles O. Manasseh & Felicia C. Abada & Williams A. Nzidee & Ambrose C. Okeke & Josaphat U.J. Onwumere, 2018. "Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy Effectiveness in Nigeria," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 8(6), pages 53-61.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Commercial banks; Financial crisis; Excess reserves; TARP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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