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Why Did U.S. Banks Invest in Highly-Rated Securitization Tranches?

Author

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  • Erel, Isil

    (OH State University)

  • Nadauld, Taylor

    (Brigham Young University)

  • Stulz, Rene M.

    (OH State University)

Abstract

We estimate holdings of highly-rated tranches of mortgage securitizations of American deposit-taking banks ahead of the credit crisis and evaluate hypotheses that have been advanced to explain these holdings. We find that holdings of highly-rated tranches were economically trivial for the typical bank, but banks with greater holdings performed more poorly during the crisis. Though univariate comparisons show that banks with large trading books had greater holdings, the holdings of highly-rated tranches are not higher for banks with large trading books in regressions that control for bank size. The ratio of highly-rated tranches holdings to assets increases with bank assets, but not for banks with more than $50 billion of assets. This evidence is inconsistent with explanations for holdings of highly-rated tranches that emphasize the incentives of banks deemed "too-big-to-fail". Further, the evidence does not provide support for "bad incentives" theories of holdings of highly-rated tranches. We find, however, that banks active in securitization held more highly-rated tranches. Such a result can be consistent with regulatory arbitrage as well as with securitizing banks holding highly-rated tranches to convince investors of the quality of these securities. Our evidence supports the latter hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Erel, Isil & Nadauld, Taylor & Stulz, Rene M., 2011. "Why Did U.S. Banks Invest in Highly-Rated Securitization Tranches?," Working Paper Series 2011-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2011-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    1. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2013. "A Model of Shadow Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1331-1363, August.
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    3. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2012. "Why Did So Many People Make So Many Ex Post Bad Decisions? The Causes of the Foreclosure Crisis," NBER Working Papers 18082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gabriel Chodorow‐Reich & Antonio Falato, 2022. "The Loan Covenant Channel: How Bank Health Transmits to the Real Economy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 85-128, February.
    5. Giampaolo Gabbi & Alesia Kalbaska & Alessandro Vercelli, 2014. "Factors generating and transmitting the financial crisis: The role of incentives: securitization and contagion," Working papers wpaper56, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    6. Nadauld, Taylor D. & Sherlund, Shane M., 2013. "The impact of securitization on the expansion of subprime credit," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 454-476.
    7. Carlos Arteta & Mark Carey & Ricardo Correa & Jason Kotter, 2020. "Revenge of the Steamroller: ABCP as a Window on Risk Choices," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 24(3), pages 497-528.
    8. Benjamin H. Mandel & Donald P. Morgan & Chenyang Wei, 2012. "The Role of bank credit enhancements in securitization," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue 07, pages 35-46.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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