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The Federal Home Loan Bank System: the lender of next-to-last resort?

Author

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  • Adam B. Ashcraft
  • Morten L. Bech
  • W. Scott Frame

Abstract

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) System is a large, complex, and understudied government-sponsored liquidity facility that currently has more than $1 trillion in secured loans outstanding, mostly to commercial banks and thrifts. This paper first documents the significant role played by the FHLB System at the outset of the ongoing financial crisis and then provides evidence about the uses of these funds by their bank and thrift members. We then identify the trade-offs faced by FHLB member-borrowers when choosing between accessing the FHLB System or the Federal Reserve's discount window during the crisis. We conclude by describing the fragmented U.S. lender-of-last-resort framework and finding that additional clarity about the respective roles of the various liquidity facilities would be helpful.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam B. Ashcraft & Morten L. Bech & W. Scott Frame, 2009. "The Federal Home Loan Bank System: the lender of next-to-last resort?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2009-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2009-04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Stojanovic, Dusan & Vaughan, Mark D. & Yeager, Timothy J., 2008. "Do Federal Home Loan Bank membership and advances increase bank risk-taking?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 680-698, May.
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    7. W. Scott Frame & Diana Hancock & Wayne Passmore, 2012. "Federal Home Loan Bank Advances and Commercial Bank Portfolio Composition," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 661-684, June.
    8. Olivier Armantier & Sandra C. Krieger & James J. McAndrews, 2008. "The Federal Reserve's Term Auction Facility," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 14(Jul).
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    11. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The Effect of Housing Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 427-463, September.
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    Keywords

    Federal home loan banks ; Lenders of last resort;

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