This article summarizes some of the papers presented at the System Applied Microeconomics Conference organized and hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on May 5-6, 2011. This annual conference brings together economists from the Federal Reserve District Banks across the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Board to present their latest economic research.
The number of U.S. commercial banks and savings institutions declined by 12 percent between December 31, 2006, and December 31, 2010, continuing a consolidation trend begun in the mid- 1980s. Banking industry consolidation has been marked by sharply higher shares of deposits held by the largest banks"”the 10 largest banks now hold nearly 50 percent of total U.S. deposits.
The authors document the provision of liquidity in Swiss francs (CHF) by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to banks located outside Switzerland during the recent financial crisis. What makes the Swiss case special is the size of this liquidity provision"”at times, 80 percent of all short-term CHF liquidity provided by the SNB"”and the measures adopted to distribute this liquidity.
This paper investigates the effectiveness of one of the Federal Reserve's unconventional monetary policy tools, the term auction facility (TAF). At issue is whether the TAF reduced the spread between the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) rates and equivalent-term Treasury rates by reducing the liquidity premium embedded in LIBOR rates.