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Over-the-counter loans, adverse selection, and stigma in the interbank market

  • Huberto M. Ennis
  • John A. Weinberg

It is often the case that banks in the US are willing to borrow in the fed funds market (the interbank market for funds) at higher rates than the ones they could obtain by borrowing at the Fed's discount window. This phenomenon is commonly explained as the consequence of the existence of a stigma effect attached to borrowing from the window. Most policymakers and empirical researchers consider the stigma hypothesis plausible. Yet, no formal treatment of the issue has ever been provided in the literature. In this paper, we fill that gap by studying a model of interbank credit where: (1) banks benefit from engaging in intertemporal trade with other banks and with outside investors; and (2) physical and informational frictions limit those trade opportunities. In our model, banks obtain loans in an over-the-counter market (involving search, bilateral matching, and negotiations over the terms of the loan) and hold assets of heterogeneous qualities which in turn determine their ability to repay those loans. When asset quality is not observable by outside investors, information about the actions taken by a bank in the credit market may influence the price at which it can sell its assets. In particular, under some conditions, discount window borrowing may be regarded as a negative signal about the quality of the borrower's assets. In such cases, some of the banks in our model, just as in the data, are willing to accept loans in the interbank market at higher rates than the ones they could obtain at the discount window.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 10-07.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:10-07
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  1. Flannery, Mark J, 1996. "Financial Crises, Payment System Problems, and Discount Window Lending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 804-24, November.
  2. Xavier Freixas & Antoine Martin & David Skeie, 2011. "Bank Liquidity, Interbank Markets, and Monetary Policy," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2656-2692.
  3. Stavros Peristiani, 1998. "The Growing Reluctance To Borrow At The Discount Window: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 611-620, November.
  4. Thomas Philippon & Vasiliki Skreta, 2010. "Optimal Interventions in Markets with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 15785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Xavier Freixas & José Jorge, 2008. "The Role of Interbank Markets in Monetary Policy: A Model with Rationing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(6), pages 1151-1176, 09.
  6. Andrea L. Eisfeldt, 2004. "Endogenous Liquidity in Asset Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 1-30, 02.
  7. Morten L. Bech & Elizabeth Klee, 2010. "The mechanics of a graceful exit: interest on reserves and segmentation in the federal funds market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena & Gale, Douglas, 2009. "Interbank market liquidity and central bank intervention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 639-652, July.
  9. Furfine, Craig, 2003. "Standing Facilities and Interbank Borrowing: Evidence from the Federal Reserve's New Discount Window," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 329-47, Winter.
  10. Olivier Armantier & Eric Ghysels & Asani Sarkar & Jeffrey Shrader, 2011. "Stigma in financial markets: evidence from liquidity auctions and discount window borrowing during the crisis," Staff Reports 483, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Selva Demiralp & Erhan Artuç, 2007. "Discount Window Borrowing after 2003: The Explicit Reduction in Implicit Costs," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 0708, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  12. Darrell Duffie & Nicolae Garleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2004. "Over-the-Counter Markets," NBER Working Papers 10816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "The Payments System, Liquidity, and Rediscounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1126-38, December.
  14. Adam B. Ashcraft & Darrell Duffie, 2007. "Systemic Illiquidity in the Federal Funds Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 221-225, May.
  15. Hayne E. Leland and David H. Pyle., 1976. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Research Program in Finance Working Papers 41, University of California at Berkeley.
  16. Kim, Youngse, 2003. "Income distribution and equilibrium multiplicity in a stigma-based model of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1591-1616, August.
  17. Thomas B. King, 2008. "Discipline and Liquidity in the Interbank Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 295-317, 03.
  18. Furfine, Craig, 2001. "The reluctance to borrow from the Fed," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 209-213, August.
  19. Leonardo Bartolini & Svenja Gudell & Spence Hilton & Krista Schwarz, 2005. "Intraday trading in the overnight federal funds market," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Nov).
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