Financial stability

By Aurélien Violon, Dominique Durant and Oana Toader

Global systemically important banks (GSIBs) – those whose failure could adversely affect the economy – are subject to stricter regulations than other banks, leading them to curb the expansion of their balance sheets to a greater extent and resulting in a fall in their share of global bank assets. We show that, despite this, GSIBs have not reduced their lending to the economy. The G20’s goals have thus been met: GSIBs have been made more resilient to shocks without negatively affecting the financing of the economy.

Chart 1: Decline in GSIBs’ share of the total assets of large banks
Chart 1: Decline in GSIBs’ share of the total assets of large banks Source: S&P Market Intelligence – Sample of 97 large banks (34 of which were designated as GSIBs at least once over the period under review).

By Eric Monnet and Marie-Hélène Ferrer

On the occasion of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods Conference, this post reflects on the history of the international monetary system of the same name (1944 - 1971). The Bretton Woods system did not work as expected. Rather than cultivating the myth of a golden age, it is preferable to recognise the adaptability of monetary and financial multilateralism over time.

Figure 1: The hotel where the Bretton Woods Conference was held (New Hampshire, USA)
Figure 1: The hotel where the Bretton Woods Conference was held (New Hampshire, USA) Source : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Mount_Washington_Hotel,_Bretton_Woods,_NH.jpg

By Edouard Vidon, Céline Rochon

Cyberattacks have emerged as a major threat, including to global financial stability. By capturing the strategic interaction between cyber criminals and their targets, Game Theory provides valuable policy insights. It highlights the limitations and side effects of uncoordinated deterrence policies, and the importance of information sharing across public authorities. International cooperation is essential. The G7 is leading the way.

Figure 1: Game Theory in action: How deterrence can preserve the status quo
Figure 1: Game Theory in action: How deterrence can preserve the status quo Note : adapted from Zagare,2019

By Constant Bourdeloux, Henri de La Guéronnière, Cristina Jude, Astrid Labouret

Leveraged loans are loans extended to highly indebted companies. Their strong growth in the US over the last five years and their packaging into securitised financial products bear a number of similarities with the subprime market that triggered the 2008 crisis. While the comparison is debatable, the risks posed by the leveraged loan market to financial stability should not be ignored.

Outstanding amount of institutional leveraged loans in the United States and in Europe
Chart 1: Outstanding amount of institutional leveraged loans in the United States and in Europe Sources: S&P LCD and Bloomberg data, Banque de France calculations. Estimates as to the exact size of the market differ due to insufficient data and the lack of a standard definition.

By Jade Al Yahya (Banque de France)

Since 2018, the ACPR and the AMF have studied how financial institutions adjust their business practices to demographic ageing. Senior consumers are particularly likely to experience vulnerability. Yet, according to preliminary results, a commercial offer based solely on an age criterion, the most commonly used today, is far from satisfactory.

Chart 1. Population projection for the European Union by age category.
Chart 1. Population projection for the European Union by age category. Source: Eurostat.

By Thomas Ferrière and Laure Frey

Household mortgage debt can jeopardise financial stability, as the 2008 crisis showed. This risk is often assessed using the ratio of the loan amount to the value of the financed property, or loan-to-value ratio (LTV). Yet, very high LTVs cover in large part the property purchases, excluding primary residences, of households with the highest incomes, which are not necessarily the most risky. Therefore, this ratio by itself is insufficient to provide the full picture.

Chart 1: Lower LTVs for primary residences
Chart 1: Lower LTVs for primary residences (% of the 2014 value of the property) Sources: INSEE Household Wealth Survey 2014-2015 and authors’ calculations.

By Vincent Grossmann-Wirth and Benoît Hallinger

The Eurosystem’s non-standard monetary policy has led to a significant build-up of excess liquidity in the euro area banking system, concentrated among a few countries. Since 2015, this concentration can mainly be explained by the Eurosystem’s asset purchase programme (APP) and the geographical location of the accounts and settlement circuits used in its implementation.

Chart 1: High concentration of excess liquidity among a few countries
Chart 1: High concentration of excess liquidity among a few countries Sources: ECB, Banque de France

By Bruno Cabrillac, Ludovic Gauvin, Jean-Baptiste Gossé and Florian Lalanne

In countries with very high public debt, a major shock could prevent the implementation of countercyclical fiscal policies and increase default risk. GDP-indexed bonds would help to mitigate these risks and avoid a costly and disruptive restructuring. A counterfactual analysis of the Greek case illustrates this idea.

Chart 1. Greek public debt: observed data and scenario without restructuring with GDP-indexed bonds (% of GDP). Source: IMF and authors’ calculations. * In 2012, Greek public debt was restructured through private sector involvement requiring a EUR 107 billion haircut.

Were it easy to predict financial crises, it would be just as easy for the macroprudential authorities to prevent them. The statistical methods used for forecasting financial crises are greatly improving but have to contend with the fact that such events are (fortunately) rare and occur suddenly. In this article, we discuss the usefulness of early warning systems as well as their limitations on the grounds that the financial system is constantly evolving.

By Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi with Vladimir Borgy, Christian Pfister and Franck Sédillot

In the household portfolio in France, the weight of life insurance stabilised at a high level in late 2015. Its previous growth came at the expense of regulated savings and money market mutual funds. This distribution appears to be mainly linked to supply effects, such as financial innovation and tax incentives, beyond the crises, even though there are some breaks in trends around 2008.

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