How could macroprudential policy affect financial system resilience and credit?

Our Financial Stability Papers are designed to develop new insights into risk management, to promote risk reduction policies, to improve financial crisis management planning or to report on aspects of our systemic financial stability work.
Published on 16 May 2013

Financial Stability Paper No. 21
By Julia Giese, Benjamin Nelson, Misa Tanaka and Nikola Tarashev

The existing literature suggests that a macroprudential policy authority could affect the resilience of the financial system and the flow of credit to the real economy through two main channels.

The first, the allocation channel, operates through the constraints and incentives of financial institutions. By employing regulatory tools that affect the cost-benefit trade-offs of financial decisions, the authority would incentivise financial institutions to reallocate their resources across alternative investments. During credit booms, for example, raising the countercyclical capital buffer would help enhance resilience and could dampen excessive balance sheet expansion. Conversely, lowering this buffer during a downturn would discourage banks from excessive deleveraging, provided that the remaining capital buffer is judged to be adequate to absorb future losses with a sufficiently high probability. In a post-crisis environment, however, some banks’ pre-crisis capitalisation may prove to be insufficient to absorb losses and confidence in the sector could, as a result, be low. Low capital levels may hamper banks’ access to funding markets and, ultimately, impair bank lending. Requiring undercapitalised banks to raise their capital levels could, in such circumstances, help underpin a sustained recovery of credit growth.

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