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Repos, fire sales, and bankruptcy policy

  • Gaetano Antinolfi
  • Francesca Carapella
  • Charles Kahn
  • Antoine Martin
  • David Mills
  • Ed Nosal

The events from the 2007–09 financial crisis have raised concerns that the failure of large financial institutions can lead to destabilizing fire sales of assets. The risk of fire sales is related to exemptions from bankruptcy's automatic stay provision enjoyed by a number of financial contracts, such as repo. An automatic stay prohibits collection actions by creditors against a bankrupt debtor or his property. It prevents a creditor from liquidating collateral of a defaulting debtor, since collateral is a lien on the debtor's property. In this paper, we construct a model of repo transactions, and consider the effects of changing the bankruptcy rule regarding the automatic stay on the activity in repo and real investment markets. We find that exempting repos from the automatic stay is beneficial for creditors who hold the borrowers' collateral. Although the exemption may increase the size of the repo market by enhancing the liquidity of collateral, it can also lead to subsequent damaging fire sales that are associated with reductions in real investment activity. Hence, policymakers face a trade-off between the benefits of investment activity and the benefits of liquid markets for collateral..

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2012-15.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2012-15
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  1. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2358, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
  2. Tobias Adrian & Brian Begalle & Adam Copeland & Antoine Martin, 2013. "Repo and Securities Lending," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Topography: Systemic Risk and Macro Modeling, pages 131-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James McAndrews & William Roberds, 1999. "Payment intermediation and the origins of banking," Staff Reports 85, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Guido Lorenzoni, 2008. "Inefficient Credit Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 809-833.
  5. Darrell Duffie & David A. Skeel, 2012. "A Dialogue on the Costs and Benefits of Automatic Stays for Derivatives and Repurchase Agreements," Book Chapters, in: Kenneth E. Scott & John B. Taylor (ed.), Bankruptcy Not Bailout, chapter 5 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  6. Kenneth French & Martin Baily & John Campbell & John Cochrane & Douglas Diamond & Darrell Duffie & Anil Kashyap & Frederic Mishkin & Raghuram Rajan & David Scharfstein & Robert Shiller & Hyun Song Shi, 2010. "The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(3), pages 8-21.
  7. Shimer Robert & Smith Lones, 2001. "Matching, Search, and Heterogeneity," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, April.
  8. Brian Begalle & Antoine Martin & James McAndrews & Susan McLaughlin, 2013. "The risk of fire sales in the tri-party repo market," Staff Reports 616, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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