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Intraday liquidity management: a tale of games banks play


  • Morten L. Bech


Over the last few decades, most central banks, concerned about settlement risks inherent in payment netting systems, have implemented real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems. Although RTGS systems can significantly reduce settlement risk, they require greater liquidity to smooth nonsynchronized payment flows. Thus, central banks typically provide intraday credit to member banks, either as collateralized credit or priced credit. Because intraday credit is costly for banks, how intraday liquidity is managed has become a competitive parameter in commercial banking and a policy concern of central banks. This article uses a game-theoretical framework to analyze the intraday liquidity management behavior of banks in an RTGS setting. The games played by banks depend on the intraday credit policy of the central bank and encompass two well-known paradigms in game theory: "the prisoner's dilemma" and "the stag hunt." The former strategy arises in a collateralized credit regime, where banks have an incentive to delay payments if intraday credit is expensive, an outcome that is socially inefficient. The latter strategy occurs in a priced credit regime, where postponement of payments can be socially efficient under certain circumstances. The author also discusses how several extensions of the framework affect the results, such as settlement risk, incomplete information, heterogeneity, and repeated play.

Suggested Citation

  • Morten L. Bech, 2008. "Intraday liquidity management: a tale of games banks play," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 7-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:2008:i:sep:p:7-23:n:v.14no.2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Morten L. Bech & Bart Hobijn, 2007. "Technology Diffusion within Central Banking: The Case of Real-Time Gross Settlement," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(3), pages 147-181, September.
    2. Aumann, Robert J., 1974. "Subjectivity and correlation in randomized strategies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 67-96, March.
    3. Furfine, Craig H & Stehm, Jeff, 1998. "Analyzing Alternative Intraday Credit Policies in Real-Time Gross Settlement Systems," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 832-848, November.
    4. Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 103-118, Summer.
    5. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "The Payments System, Liquidity, and Rediscounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1126-1138, December.
    6. Alan Greenspan, 1996. "Remarks on evolving payment system issues," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 689-695.
    7. Martin, Antoine, 2004. "Optimal pricing of intraday liquidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 401-424, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Armantier & Jeffrey Arnold & James J. McAndrews, 2008. "Changes in the timing distribution of Fedwire funds transfers," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 83-112.
    2. Joaquin Bernal & Freddy Cepeda L. & Fabio Ortega C., 2011. "Cuantificación de la contribución de las fuentes de liquidez en el Sistema de Pagos de Alto Valor en Colombia: una aproximación preliminar," Borradores de Economia 683, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. Carlos Léon, 2012. "Estimating financial institutions´ intraday liquidity risk: a Monte Carlo simulation approach," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 009441, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    4. Davey, Nick & Gray, Daniel, 2014. "How has the Liquidity Saving Mechanism reduced banks’ intraday liquidity costs in CHAPS?," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 54(2), pages 180-189.
    5. Tomohiro Ota, 2016. "Sequential payments and optimal pricing in payment systems," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 441-463, December.


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