Archived Series > IMF Staff Position Notes

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Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, Phil De Imus, and Mr. Krishna Srinivasan
This paper examines the unconventional monetary policy actions undertaken by G-7 central banks and assesses their effectiveness in alleviating financial market pressures and facilitating credit flows to the real economy. Central banks acted nimbly, decisively, and creatively in their response to the deepening of the crisis. They embarked on a number of unconventional policies, some of which had been tried before, while others were new. The scale and scope of unconventional measures have differed substantially across major central banks. Massive asset purchases have boosted the size of the central bank balance sheets the most in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, the Bank of England has relied primarily on the purchases of government bonds, while the Fed has acquired a variety of assets, including commercial paper and mortgage-backed securities and providing financing for acquisition of other asset-backed securities. Central bank interventions, along with government actions, have been broadly successful in stabilizing financial conditions over time.
Mr. Ivan S Guerra, Mr. R. B. Johnston, Karim Youssef, and Mr. Andre O Santos
This paper reviews the impact of policies to address banking sector weaknesses through the first months of 2009. At the time of this assessment, central bank intervention had successfully addressed pressures on bank liquidity, but the underlying financial position of financial institutions, particularly the large complex financial institutions (LCFIs), remained precarious. Although Tier 1 ratios had been boosted through the capital injections, tangible common equity (TCE) remained at a critical level for most institutions. Asset quality was weakening, and credit spreads for LCFIs remained wide. Measures had not stemmed the market-driven deleveraging process, and lending surveys pointed to various levels of credit tightening in the United States, Europe, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The success of government support measures can be assessed by their impact on bank soundness indicators. Government support measures should have a positive effect on bank soundness by improving bank liquidity, profitability, capital adequacy, and asset quality.
Mr. Robert Rennhack
The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has weathered the global financial crisis reasonably well so far, although tighter global financial conditions began to take their toll on trade, capital flows and economic growth in late 2008. This resilience reflects the reforms put in place by many countries over the past decade to strengthen financial supervision and adopt sound macroeconomic policies. Building on this progress, the region’s financial sector reform agenda now aims at further improvements, including steps aiming to improve compliance with the Basel Core Principles of Banking Supervision and to broaden and deepen domestic financial markets.
Augustin Landier and Mr. Kenichi Ueda
Based on a simple framework, this note clarifies the economics behind bank restructuring and evaluates various restructuring options for systemically important banks. The note assumes that the government aims to reduce the probability of a bank’s default and keep the burden on taxpayers at a minimum. The note also acknowledges that the design of any restructuring needs to take into consideration the payoffs and incentives for the various key stakeholders (i.e., shareholders, debt holders, and government).
Ms. Luisa Zanforlin, Ian Tower, Erlend Nier, Michael Moore, Ana Carvajal, and Randall Dodd
The G-20 has called for a review of the scope of financial regulation. This call reflects concern that the coverage of prudential regulation has been too narrow. A discussion of extending the regulatory perimeter should, therefore, weigh carefully the experience of the past two years against these considerations. It will also be important to understand whether the assumptions underlying the existing regulatory model for banks are fatally flawed, or whether better regulation and supervision of the banks would be adequate. This set of proposals would represent a major increase in the scope of regulation of institutions, products, and markets. The proposals would best be taken forward as part of a broad program of financial sector reform, including the development of a macroprudential framework for assessing and managing systemwide risk. Even if new regulation is carefully designed to be proportionate to the risks in each new area, there will clearly be increased costs to the system. There would be an increased regulatory burden, which would also carry risks of unintended consequences. The current crisis has clearly shown that the cost of the alternative is also high.