May 2021

Arbitrage Capital of Global Banks

Alyssa G. Anderson, Wenxin Du, and Bernd Schlusche

Abstract:

We show that the role of unsecured, short-term wholesale funding for global banks has changed significantly in the post-financial-crisis regulatory environment. Global banks mainly use such funding to finance liquid, near risk-free arbitrage positions—in particular, the interest on excess reserves arbitrage and the covered interest rate parity arbitrage. In this environment, we examine the response of global banks to a large negative wholesale funding shock as a result of the U.S. money market mutual fund reform implemented in 2016. In contrast to past episodes of wholesale funding dry-ups, we find that the primary response of global banks to the reform was a cutback in arbitrage positions that relied on unsecured funding, rather than a reduction in loan provision.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2021.032

PDF: Full Paper

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

Back to Top
Last Update: May 14, 2021