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Banking on Deposits: Maturity Transformation without Interest Rate Risk

Author

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  • Itamar Drechsler
  • Alexi Savov
  • Philipp Schnabl

Abstract

We show that maturity transformation does not expose banks to significant interest rate risk—it actually hedges banks' interest rate risk. We argue that this is driven by banks' deposit franchise. Banks incur large operating costs to maintain their deposit franchise, and in return get substantial market power. Market power allows banks to charge depositors a spread by paying deposit rates that are low and insensitive to market rates. The deposit franchise therefore works like an interest rate swap where banks pay the fixed-rate leg (the operating costs) and receive the floating-rate leg (the deposit spread). To hedge the deposit franchise, banks must therefore hold long-term fixed-rate assets; i.e., they must engage in maturity transformation. Consistent with this view, we show that banks' aggregate net interest margins have been highly stable and insensitive to interest rates over the past six decades, and that banks' equity values are largely insulated from monetary policy shocks. Moreover, in the cross section we find that banks match the interest-rate sensitivities of their income and expenses one-for-one, and that banks with less sensitive interest expenses hold substantially more long-term assets. Our results imply that forcing banks to hold only short-term assets (“narrow banking”) would make banks unhedged and, more broadly, that the deposit franchise is what allows banks to lend long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Itamar Drechsler & Alexi Savov & Philipp Schnabl, 2018. "Banking on Deposits: Maturity Transformation without Interest Rate Risk," NBER Working Papers 24582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24582
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Chiu & Mohammad Davoodalhosseini & Janet Hua Jiang & Yu Zhu, 2019. "Central Bank Digital Currency and Banking," Staff Working Papers 19-20, Bank of Canada.
    2. repec:nbr:nberch:14086 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dirk Niepelt, 2018. "Reserves for All? Central Bank Digital Currency, Deposits, and their (Non)-Equivalence," Working Papers 18.02, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
    4. Rampini, Adriano A. & Viswanathan, S. & Vuillemey, Guillaume, 2019. "Risk Management in Financial Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 13787, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Robin Dottling, 2018. "Bank Capital Regulation in a Zero Interest Environment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-016/IV, Tinbergen Institute, revised 19 Jan 2019.
    6. Antonio Falato & Diana A. Iercosan & Filip Zikes, 2019. "Banks as Regulated Traders," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-005, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    7. Hoffmann, Peter & Langfield, Sam & Pierobon, Federico & Vuillemey, Guillaume, 2018. "Who bears interest rate risk?," Working Paper Series 2176, European Central Bank.
    8. Margherita Bottero & Camelia Minoiu & José-Luis Peydró & Andrea Polo & Andrea F. Presbitero & Enrico Sette, 2019. "Negative Monetary Policy Rates and Portfolio Rebalancing: Evidence from Credit Register Data," Working Papers 1090, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    9. Carletti, Elena & De Marco, Filippo & Ioannidou, Vasso & Sette, Enrico, 2019. "Banks as Patient Lenders: Evidence from a Tax Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 13722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Dirk Niepelt, 2018. "Reserves For All? Central Bank Digital Currency, Deposits and their (Non)-Equivalence," Diskussionsschriften dp1813, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    11. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Yann Koby, 2019. "The Reversal Interest Rate," IMES Discussion Paper Series 19-E-06, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies

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