Supply of Private Safe Assets: Interplay of Shadow and Traditional Banks
39 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018 Last revised: 9 Oct 2019
Date Written: February 28, 2018
We show that the creation of private safe assets by shadow banks can crowd out traditional banks' supply of safe assets. The 2014-2016 money market fund reform created a large demand shock for government- or government-like safe assets. Shadow banks responded, and in particular, Federal Home Loans Banks (FHLBs) increased their issuance of short-term safe debt. While increasing their balance sheet, FHLBs managed their interest rate risk by mainly increasing their supply of highly interest-rate sensitive loans to their members. As banks differ in their interest rate risk-management, not all could take advantage of increased supply of FHLB loans. We use this differential borrowing in response to the money market reform to study the effect of increased supply of safe assets by FHLBs on banks' balance sheets. We find that banks use FHLB borrowing as a perfect substitute for deposit financing. The substitution of safe debt with FHLB borrowing does not go along with an overall increase in the balance sheet and therefore has no lending effect. This finding has important implications for the transmission of monetary policy as well as broader economic activities. If shadow banks create safe assets at the expense of traditional banks' deposits, then there will be a minimal effect on the total funding available for households and firms from banks and shadow banks.
Keywords: safe assets, shadow banking, money market reform, Federal Home Loan Banks
JEL Classification: G21, G23, G18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation