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FEDS Notes

August 28, 2015

Launching the Enhanced Financial Accounts

Paul Smith

As described in an earlier FEDS Note, the Federal Reserve Board has begun an ambitious and long-term effort to enhance the Financial Accounts of the United States by providing additional detail and disaggregation, higher frequency data, and additional documentation and analysis of financial data, in order to improve our picture of financial intermediation and activity in the United States.1 The purpose of this Note is to summarize a few of the first preliminary projects under the Enhanced Financial Accounts (EFA) initiative, which are now available on a new page on our website.2 A separate FEDS Note, described below, provides additional detail on one of the projects. Additional projects will be posted to the EFA website later this year.

Overview of the First EFA Projects
The new EFA website provides data for three preliminary EFA projects, all of which are related to the depository institution sector (i.e., banks).3 Banks are a natural place to begin the EFA initiative because they lie at the heart of the nation's financial system and thus are critical to financial stability, and because banks report a significant amount of financial data in regulatory reports. The data reported for these preliminary projects are not currently incorporated into the structure of the Financial Accounts; rather, they are intended to provide additional, supplemental information to the data reported on, for example, Table L.111 (U.S.-chartered depository institutions) in the Accounts.4 However, future EFA projects may be structurally integrated into the framework of the Accounts. Brief descriptions of each project are provided below (see the EFA website for data and documentation).5 

Consolidated Balance Sheets

This table reports the assets and liabilities of U.S.-chartered depository institutions on a globally consolidated basis, i.e., including bank assets and liabilities held abroad.6 This is in contrast to Table L.111, which reports only the domestic assets and liabilities of U.S.-chartered depository institutions. The consolidated perspective provides more comprehensive information on the global operations of U.S.-chartered depository institutions. It also serves as a starting point and point of comparison for other EFA projects that offer additional detail on U.S.-chartered depository institutions because some of the supplementary data (e.g., off-balance sheet holdings) are only available on a globally consolidated basis. The data for this new EFA table come from Call Reports and extend back to 1990:Q1.

Off-Balance-Sheet Items

This table provides an overview of off-balance-sheet items of U.S.-chartered depository institutions. Off-balance-sheet items are contingent assets or liabilities such as unused loan commitments, letters of credit, and derivatives. These items may expose institutions to credit risk, liquidity risk, or counterparty risk, which are not reflected on the sector's balance sheet reported on Table L.111 of the traditional Financial Accounts of the United States. This additional information on U.S.-chartered depository institutions aims to provide a more comprehensive picture of the activities and potential risks facing the sector. This information is reported on a consolidated basis, including the foreign operations of U.S.-chartered depository institutions, so it is not strictly comparable to the balance sheet data reported on table L.111, which includes only U.S operations. Rather, it is on the same basis as the consolidated balance sheet mentioned above. The data for this table come from Call Reports schedule RC-L (Derivatives and Off-Balance-Sheet Items) and also extend back to 1990:Q1. This table is described in greater detail in a companion FEDS Note by Ralf Meisenzahl.

Syndicated Loan Portfolios of Financial Institutions

These tables provide an overview of the distribution of risk in syndicated loan portfolios of banks and other financial institutions. A syndicated loan is a loan extended by a group of financial institutions (a loan syndicate) to a single borrower. Syndicates often include both banks and non-bank financial institutions, such as collateralized loan obligation structures (CLOs), insurance companies, pension funds, or mutual funds. After origination, shares of syndicated loans can be traded in the secondary market, changing the composition of the loan syndicate. Syndicated loans are included in the financial accounts of the individual lenders, but are not identified specifically as syndicated loans. The information provided in these tables provides an overview of the exposure of banks and other financial institutions to credit risk from syndicated loans. The tables summarize total exposures to syndicated loans, then break the data down by drawn credit lines, undrawn credit lines, and term loans. These data are taken from the quarterly reports of the Shared National Credit (SNC) Program and are available since 2009:Q4.

These three projects, and the website that hosts them, represent the first preliminary projects of the EFA initiative. Additional projects will be posted to the website later this year, including more detailed and higher-frequency data representing other sectors of the Financial Accounts, and other projects are under development that will take longer to reach fruition. In the meantime, feedback and suggestions from users of the Financial Accounts would be very much appreciated. Limited resources will constrain the number and type of projects that are feasible in the coming years, and suggestions from users will be very important in determining how resources are allocated. The EFA website includes a button for submitting suggestions and comments (see

1. See "Enhanced Financial Accounts," August 1, 2014. Return to text

2. See Return to text

3. U.S.-chartered depository institutions are financial intermediaries that raise funds through demand and time deposits as well as from other sources, such as federal funds purchases and security repurchase agreements, funds from parent companies, and borrowing from other lending institutions (for example, the Federal Home Loan Banks); they use the funds to make loans, primarily to businesses and individuals, and to invest in securities. U.S.-chartered depository institutions include national commercial banks chartered by the Controller of the Currency, state-chartered commercial banks (chartered by one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia), federal savings banks, state-chartered savings banks, cooperative banks, savings and loan associations, and international banking facilities (IBFs) established by U.S.-chartered depository institutions. Return to text

4. See Return to text

5. These projects were developed by Ralf Meisenzahl, with significant contributions from Talal Al-Khatib, Vincent La, Luke McConnell, Susan McIntosh, Maria Perozek, and Damian Thomas. Return to text

6. Note that assets and liabilities of nonbank subsidiaries are not included in this table. Return to text

Please cite as:

Smith, Paul A. (2015). "Launching the Enhanced Financial Accounts," FEDS Notes. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, August 28, 2015.

Disclaimer: FEDS Notes are articles in which Board economists offer their own views and present analysis on a range of topics in economics and finance. These articles are shorter and less technically oriented than FEDS Working Papers.

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Last update: August 28, 2015