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Foreign banks in the U.S.: a primer

  • William Goulding
  • Daniel E. Nolle
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    This paper describes the foreign banking landscape in the United States. It begins by establishing a vocabulary for discussion of the subject, and then identifies a number of important data-related issues. With that information in hand, the remainder of the paper focuses on identifying the most important underlying trends on both sides of the balance sheets of foreign-owned banks' U.S. operations. At each step, the investigation considers how foreign-owned banks compare to U.S.-owned domestic banks, and how two types of foreign banks operations in the U.S. -- branches and agencies of foreign banks (FBAs), and foreign-owned subsidiary banks (FSUBs) -- compare to each other. The banking sector in the U.S. experienced substantial swings in performance and stability over the decade surrounding the 2008-2009 financial crisis and changes in every major dimension of foreign-owned banks' assets and liabilities were even larger than for domestic banks. Changes were especially large at FBAs. For example, cash balances came to dominate the assets side of FBAs’ aggregate balance sheet, with the absolute level of cash balances larger than those of domestic U.S. banks beginning in 2011, despite the fact that total assets of domestic U.S. banks are five times the assets of FBAs. Further, the recent unprecedented build-up of cash balances by FBAs was almost entirely composed of excess reserves. Changes in FBAs' liabilities-side activities have also been large, with much funding coming from large wholesale deposits and net borrowing from their foreign parents and related offices abroad.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 1064.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1064
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    1. Robert N. McCauley & Rama Seth, 1992. "Foreign bank credit to U.S. corporations: the implications of offshore loans," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Spr, pages 52-65.
    2. De Haas, Ralph & van Lelyveld, Iman, 2009. "Internal Capital Markets and Lending by Multinational Bank Subsidiaries," MPRA Paper 13164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Brealey, R. A. & Kaplanis, E. C., 1996. "The determination of foreign banking location," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 577-597, August.
    4. Nicola Cetorelli & Linda S. Goldberg, 2012. "Follow the Money: Quantifying Domestic Effects of Foreign Bank Shocks in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 17873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michael J. Fleming, 2012. "Federal Reserve liquidity provision during the financial crisis of 2007-2009," Staff Reports 563, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Michael J. Fleming & Nicholas J. Klagge, 2011. "Income effects of Federal Reserve liquidity facilities," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 17(Feb).
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    8. Grosse, Robert & Goldberg, Lawrence G., 1991. "Foreign bank activity in the United States: An analysis by country of origin," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1093-1112, December.
    9. Daniel E. Nolle & Rama Seth, 1996. "Do banks follow their customers abroad?," Research Paper 9620, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Dario Focarelli & Alberto Franco Pozzolo, 2005. "Where Do Banks Expand Abroad? An Empirical Analysis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2435-2464, November.
    11. Robert Z. Aliber, 1993. "The Multinational Paradigm," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511517, June.
    12. Cerutti, Eugenio & Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2005. "How banks go abroad : branches or subsidiaries ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3753, The World Bank.
    13. Linda S Goldberg, 2009. "Understanding Banking Sector Globalization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 171-197, April.
    14. Patrick McGuire & Goetz von Peter, 2009. "The US dollar shortage in global banking," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
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