Banks' Exposure to Interest Rate Risk and the Transmission of Monetary Policy
Toulouse School of Economics
David Alexandre Sraer
University of California, Berkeley; Princeton University
July 16, 2015
We show that banks' exposure to interest rate risk, or income gap, plays a crucial role in monetary policy transmission. While banks have, on average, positive levels of income gap - their assets are more sensitive to interest rate changes than their liabilities - there is substantial heterogeneity in the cross-section of banks in how exposed they are to interest rate risk. In a first step, we show that the sensitivity of bank profits to interest rates increases significantly with their income gap, even when banks use interest rate derivatives. In a second step, we show that the income gap also predicts the sensitivity of bank lending to interest rates, both for commercial & industrial loans and for mortgages. Quantitatively, a 100 basis point increase in the Fed funds rate leads a bank at the 75th percentile of the income gap distribution to increase lending by about 1.6 percentage points annually relative to a bank at the 25th percentile. We conclude that banks' exposure to interest rate risk is an important determinant of the lending channel.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: Interest rate risk, monetary policy, bank lending
JEL Classification: E52, G21, E44
Date posted: February 19, 2013 ; Last revised: July 16, 2015
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