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Banking and Finance Law

Financial crisis

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Financial Regulation Beyond Stability, Kathryn Judge Jan 2024

Financial Regulation Beyond Stability, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This essay briefly reviews the ways stability has dominated regulatory and academic discourse about financial regulation. It then uses anti-money laundering (AML) and the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHL Banks) — the oldest government foray into housing policy — as case studies to show that banks and the financial system are already deeply engaged in efforts to further other important government policies. These case studies affirm just how hard it can be to promote healthy public-private coordination, while also revealing why such arrangements have become so pervasive. More than anything, the aim here is to force acknowledgment of the myriad …


Credit, Crises And Infrastructure: The Differing Fates Of Large And Small Businesses, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge, Aaron Klein Jan 2022

Credit, Crises And Infrastructure: The Differing Fates Of Large And Small Businesses, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge, Aaron Klein

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay sheds new light on the importance of credit creation infrastructure in determining who actually receives government support during periods of distress, and who continues to benefit after the acute phase of a crisis and the government’s formal support programs come to an end. The pandemic revealed, and the government’s response accentuated, meaningful asymmetries in the capacities of small and large businesses to access needed funding.

At first glance, it would seem that small businesses benefitted more than large ones from the government’s pandemic-support programs, as more government funds flowed into small businesses. Yet closer inspection of the range …


Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge Jan 2022

Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

In the spring of 2009, the United States was mired in the greatest recession it had faced since the Great Depression. In March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen to 6,594.44, a total decline of 53.4 percent from its peak in the fall of 2007. The official unemployment rate was over 9 percent and still trending upward, eventually exceeding 10 percent. With the support of Congress, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) and other financial regulators had launched an array of initiatives to contain the fallout of what had become a global financial crisis. These interventions, including a massive recapitalization …


Corporate Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study, Dorothy S. Lund, Natasha Sarin Dec 2021

Corporate Crime And Punishment: An Empirical Study, Dorothy S. Lund, Natasha Sarin

All Faculty Scholarship

For many years, law and economics scholars, as well as politicians and regulators, have debated whether corporate criminal enforcement overdeters beneficial corporate activity or in the alternative, lets corporate criminals off too easily. This debate has recently expanded in its polarization: On the one hand, academics, judges, and politicians have excoriated enforcement agencies for failing to send guilty bankers to jail in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; on the other, the U.S. Department of Justice has since relaxed policies that encouraged individual prosecutions and reduced the size of fines and number of prosecutions. A crucial and yet understudied …


Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin Feb 2020

Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin

All Faculty Scholarship

This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in the insurance industry, where decentralized regulation creates opportunities for aggressive tax and capital management. Using novel data on 57 large private equity deals in the insurance industry, we show that buyouts create value by decreasing insurers' tax liabilities; and by reaching-for-yield: PE firms tilt their subsidiaries' bond portfolios toward junk bonds while avoiding corresponding capital charges. Previous work on affiliated or "shadow" reinsurance and capital management misses the important role that private equity buyouts play as recent drivers of these phenomenon. The trend we document is of growing importance in …


A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2020

A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article takes the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis to review recent developments in the structured products market, connecting the emergent pattern to post-crisis regulation.

The Article tells a tale of two markets. The financial crisis stemmed from excessive risk-taking and shabby practice in the subprime home mortgage market, a market that owed its existence to the private-label, originate to securitize model. But the pre-crisis boom in private label subprime mortgage-backed securities could never have happened absent back up financing from an array of structured products and vehicles created in the capital markets—the CDOs that found …


Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Why The Fed Should Issue A Policy Framework For Credit Policy, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve has long used policy frameworks to both explain and inform its policymaking. These policy frameworks typically explain what the Fed is seeking to achieve in a given domain and how it plans to achieve its desired aims. Two prominent examples are the Fed’s use of Bagehot’s dictum when acting as a lender of last resort and its monetary policy framework issued in 2012 and revised in 2020. In both instances, the framework provides a foundation for informed debate among Fed policymakers, Congress, and the public, enhancing both efficacy and accountability. Since the onset of the Covid crisis, …


The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten Jan 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 Pandemic is the biggest challenge for the world since World War Two, warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on 1 April 2020. Millions of lives may be lost. The threat to our livelihoods is extreme as well. Job losses worldwide may exceed 25 million.

Legal systems are under extreme stress too. Contracts are disrupted, judicial services suspended, and insolvency procedures tested. Quarantine regulations threaten constitutional liberties. However, laws can also be a powerful tool to contain the effects of the pandemic on our lives and reduce its economic fallout. To achieve this goal, rules designed for normal times …


Corporate Governance Reform In Post-Crisis Financial Firms: Two Fundamental Tensions, Christopher Bruner Jan 2018

Corporate Governance Reform In Post-Crisis Financial Firms: Two Fundamental Tensions, Christopher Bruner

Scholarly Works

The manner in which financial firms are governed directly impacts the stability and sustainability of both the financial sector and the "real" economy, as the financial crisis and associated regulatory reform efforts have tragically demonstrated. However, two fundamental tensions continue to complicate efforts to reform corporate governance in post-crisis financial firms. The first relates to reliance on increased equity capital as a buffer against shocks and a means of limiting leverage. The tension here arises from the fact that no corporate constituency desires risk more than equity does, and that risk preference only tends to be stronger in banks, and …


If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It, Kathryn Judge Jan 2017

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

A prescription is only as good as the diagnosis on which it is based. This is just as true in finance as it is in medicine. And, in Hal Scott's assessment, the reforms adopted in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis ("Crisis") are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons for that crisis. The future is accordingly bleak.


Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding Sep 2016

Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

“Safe assets” is a catch-all term for financial contracts that market participants treat as if they were risk-free. These may include government debt, AAA corporate debt, bank debt, and asset-backed securities, among others. The International Monetary Fund estimated potential safe assets at more than $114 trillion worldwide in 2011, over seven times the U.S. economic output that year.

To treat any contract as if it were risk-free seems delusional after apparently super-safe public and private debt markets collapsed overnight. Nonetheless, financial crises have only raised the policy and academic profile of safe assets, invoked to explain global imbalances, shadow banking, …


The Unfinished Business Of Dodd-Frank: Reforming The Mortgage Contract, Christopher K. Odinet Jul 2016

The Unfinished Business Of Dodd-Frank: Reforming The Mortgage Contract, Christopher K. Odinet

Faculty Scholarship

The standard residential mortgage contract is due for a reappraisal. The goals of Dodd-Frank and the CFPB are geared toward creating better stability in the residential mortgage market, in part, by mandating more robust underwriting. This is achieved chiefly through the ability-to-repay rules and the “qualified mortgage” safe harbor, which call for very conservative underwriting criteria to be applied to new mortgage loans. And lenders are whole-heartedly embracing these criteria in their loan originations — in the fourth quarter of 2015 over 98% of all new residential loans were qualified mortgages, thus resulting in a new wave of credit-worthy homeowners …


Pricing Sovereign Debt: Discretion V. Expropriation, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

Pricing Sovereign Debt: Discretion V. Expropriation, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The Greek restructuring of March 2012 illustrates how non-price contract terms can have a significant effect on the pricing of sovereign debt. In the Greek restructuring, bonds governed by local law suffered NPV haircuts in the range of 60-75%, whereas those bonds governed by foreign law were paid in full and on time. Other contract parameters such as the currency in which the debt is denominated and the exchange on which it is listed can also affect the leeway a sovereign debtor has in dealing with its creditors. In general, we find that sovereigns with strong institutions and investor protections …


Can Parallel Lines Ever Meet? The Strange Case Of The International Standards On Sovereign Debt And Business And Human Rights, Daniel D. Bradlow Jan 2016

Can Parallel Lines Ever Meet? The Strange Case Of The International Standards On Sovereign Debt And Business And Human Rights, Daniel D. Bradlow

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

This special issue is a cooperation of the Yale Journal of International Law and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It emerged from UNCTAD’s work on sovereign debt workouts, specifically from its Working Group on a Sovereign Debt Workout Mechanism (2013 to 2015). The working group developed a Roadmap and Guide for Sovereign Debt Workouts, published in 2015. It proposes an incremental approach to sovereign debt workouts that relies on the continuous, progressive development of sovereign debt restructuring practice. This work has inspired the adoption of Basic Principles for Sovereign Debt Restructuring by the United Nations General …


Macroprudential Regulation Of Mortgage Lending, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2016

Macroprudential Regulation Of Mortgage Lending, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Much regulatory effort has been devoted to improving mortgage lending, the principal source of housing finance. To date, that effort has primarily been microprudential—intended to correct market failures in order to increase economic efficiency. In contrast, and while there is some overlap, this article focuses on a more “macroprudential” regulation of mortgage lending—intended to reduce systemic risk. Although largely underdeveloped in the literature, the macroprudential regulation of mortgage lending would have two goals: an ex ante goal of preventing systemic shocks in housing finance and the housing sector, and an ex post goal of ensuring that housing finance, the housing …


Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding Jan 2016

Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding

Publications

“Safe assets” is a catch-all term to describe financial contracts that market participants treat as if they were risk-free. These may include government debt, bank deposits, and asset-backed securities, among others. The International Monetary Fund estimated potential safe assets at more than $114 trillion worldwide in 2011, more than seven times the U.S. economic output that year.

To treat any contract as if it were risk-free seems delusional after apparently super-safe public and private debt markets collapsed overnight. Nonetheless, safe asset supply and demand have been invoked to explain shadow banking, financial crises, and prolonged economic stagnation. The economic literature …


Economic Crisis And The Integration Of Law And Finance: The Impact Of Volatility Spikes, Edward G. Fox, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2016

Economic Crisis And The Integration Of Law And Finance: The Impact Of Volatility Spikes, Edward G. Fox, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

The 2008 financial crisis raised puzzles important for understanding how the capital market prices common stocks and in turn, for the intersection between law and finance. During the crisis, there was a dramatic fivefold spike, across all industries, in "idiosyncratic risk" – the volatility of individual-firm share prices after adjustment for movements in the market as a whole.

This phenomenon is not limited to the most recent financial crisis.This Article uses an empirical review to show that a dramatic spike in idiosyncratic risk has occurred with every major downturn from the 1920s through the recent financial crisis. It canvasses three …


Count The Limbs: Designing Robust Aggregation Clauses In Sovereign Bonds, Anna Gelpern, Ben Heller, Brad Setser Nov 2015

Count The Limbs: Designing Robust Aggregation Clauses In Sovereign Bonds, Anna Gelpern, Ben Heller, Brad Setser

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On August 29, 2014, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) published new recommended terms for sovereign bond contracts governed by English law. One of the new terms would allow a super majority of creditors to approve a debtor’s restructuring proposal in one vote across multiple bond series. The vote could bind all bond holders, even if a series voted unanimously against restructuring, so long as enough holders in the other series voted for it. An apparently technical change, awkwardly named “single-limb aggregated collective action clauses (CACs)” promised to eliminate free-riders for the first time in the history of sovereign bond …


Investing And Pretending, Anita Krug May 2015

Investing And Pretending, Anita Krug

All Faculty Scholarship

One of the more prominent components of Dodd–Frank’s regulatory changes was Title VII, providing for the regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives known as “swaps.” A swap is a financial instrument whose value is based on an asset—the “reference asset”—that is wholly unrelated to the swap itself. Although there was much ado about swap regulation immediately after Dodd–Frank’s enactment, the same cannot be said of the many rules that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) has subsequently adopted pursuant to its authority under Title VII. This Article critically evaluates the CFTC’s “swap rules” and identifies the regulatory vision that they reflect. …


The Financial Stability Oversight Council (Fsoc): It's Not All About The Designation, Hilary Allen Mar 2015

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (Fsoc): It's Not All About The Designation, Hilary Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

The recession that followed the financial crisis of 2007-2008 illustrated just how important financial stability is:when the financial system fails, it results in credit contractions that can cause seismic problems for the economyat large. Because financial institutions lack the incentives, information and tools to reduce the amount of risk inthe financial system as a whole, the vital task of overseeing and regulating for financial stability must necessarilybe carried out by a public body.


The New Global Financial Regulatory Order: Can Macroprudential Regulation Prevent Another Global Financial Disaster?, Behzad Gohari, Karen E. Woody Jan 2015

The New Global Financial Regulatory Order: Can Macroprudential Regulation Prevent Another Global Financial Disaster?, Behzad Gohari, Karen E. Woody

Scholarly Articles

This Article posits that the success of macroprudential regulation will depend on four factors. First, the economic philosophy of the central banker in charge of the domestic institution with jurisdiction over macroprudential regulation will prove crucial in the implementation of adopted regulation. If, like Chairman Greenspan, the banker is averse to the exercise of the Central Bank's regulatory oversight authority, then no amount or volume of policy or regulation will prevent or mitigate systemic risks and the accompanying shocks. Second, a sufficiently deep level of international cooperation is required to mitigate regulatory arbitrage, without being so broad that the ensuing …


Putting The 'Financial Stability' In Financial Stability Oversight Council, Hilary Allen Jan 2015

Putting The 'Financial Stability' In Financial Stability Oversight Council, Hilary Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

For all the ink that has been spilled on the topic of financial regulation since the financial crisis of 2007-2008, there has been little examination of the competing normative goals of financial regulation. Should the financial system be treated as an end in itself such that the efficiency of that system is the primary goal? Or should financial regulation instead treat the financial system as a means to the end of broader economic growth? This Article argues for the latter approach, and stakes out the controversial normative position that financial stability, rather than efficiency, should be the paramount focus of …


Banking And Financial Regulation, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Banking And Financial Regulation, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter provides a basic overview of banking and financial regulation for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics (Francesco Paris, ed.). Among other things, the chapter compares traditional and shadow banking and their regulation, differentiating “micro prudential” regulation (which focuses on protecting individual components of the financial system, such as banks) and “macro prudential” regulation (which focuses on protecting against systemic risk). The chapter also examines how regulation can help to correct market failures that undermine financial efficiency. In that context, it discusses, among other things, capital requirements, ring-fencing, and stress testing. Finally, the chapter examines how regulation …


When Governments Write Contracts: Policy And Expertise In Sovereign Debt Markets, W. Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati, Anna Gelpern Jan 2015

When Governments Write Contracts: Policy And Expertise In Sovereign Debt Markets, W. Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati, Anna Gelpern

Faculty Scholarship

At least three times in the past two decades, national governments and institutions at the regional and international levels have tried to reform sovereign bond contracts to facilitate debt restructuring. Increasingly, these efforts have focused on promoting majority modifications clauses, a species of collective action clause (CAC) that facilitates a binding debt restructuring. Rather than legislate or regulate, governments have convened expert commissions, produced model CACs, and aggressively marketed these clauses to debtors and creditors. When events prove the existing CAC template inadequate or irrelevant, the process begins anew. This paper considers this mode of government intervention, which has a …


The Broken Buck Stops Here: Embracing Sponsor Support In Money Market Fund Reform, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2015

The Broken Buck Stops Here: Embracing Sponsor Support In Money Market Fund Reform, Jill E. Fisch

All Faculty Scholarship

Since the 2008 financial crisis, in which the Reserve Primary Fund “broke the buck,” money market funds (MMFs) have been the subject of ongoing policy debate. Many commentators view MMFs as a key contributor to the crisis because widespread redemption demands during the days following the Lehman bankruptcy contributed to a freeze in the credit markets. In response, MMFs were deemed a component of the nefarious shadow banking industry and targeted for regulatory reform. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) misguided 2014 reforms responded by potentially exacerbating MMF fragility while potentially crippling large segments of the MMF industry.

Determining the …


Russia’S Contract Arbitrage, Anna Gelpern Jun 2014

Russia’S Contract Arbitrage, Anna Gelpern

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Ukraine is poised to restructure its debt, but Russia may hold the best cards in the negotiation. Russia bought $3 billion in Ukrainian Eurobonds in late 2013 to prop up a political ally, since-deposed. As Russian President Vladimir Putin himself has pointed out, these bonds have unique terms that let Russia call for early repayment, putting it ahead of Ukraine’s private creditors. Meanwhile, Russia and its proxies hold enough bonds to block a restructuring vote or hold out, sticking more losses on other creditors. Russia has refused to restructure the bonds in the Paris Club of government-to-government creditors, claiming that …


Incentivizing Credit Rating Agencies Under The Issuer Pay Model Through A Mandatory Compensation Competition, Robert J. Rhee Apr 2014

Incentivizing Credit Rating Agencies Under The Issuer Pay Model Through A Mandatory Compensation Competition, Robert J. Rhee

Faculty Scholarship

Credit rating agencies are important institutions of the global capital markets. If they had performed properly, the financial crisis of 2008-2009 would not have occurred. This article offers the simplest fix proposed thus far, and it is contrarian. This Article accepts the central role of rating agencies in the regulation of bond investments, the realities of a duopoly, and the issuer-pay model of compensation. The status quo is the baseline. The role of regulation should be to create the conditions necessary to induce competition. This article proposes that a small, recurring portion of revenue earned by the largest rating agencies …


Revisiting The Causes Of The Financial Crisis, Antony Page Jan 2014

Revisiting The Causes Of The Financial Crisis, Antony Page

Faculty Publications

Much has been written on the legal causes of the financial crisis and its aftermath, often referred to as the Great Recession. Presumably the debate will continue for many years to come, much as scholars continue to debate the causes of the Great Depression. Lost, however, in the descriptions of arcane laws and complex derivative financial products, is a relatively brief and straightforward account of the crisis and its most likely causes for interested lawyers, law students, or graduate students who are not specialists and do not want to become specialists. This Essay, based on a presentation at the Indiana …


How To Improve The Financial Architecture And Its Resilience, Dirk Helbing, Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Fabio Caccioli, J. Doyne Farmer, Steve Keen, Katharina Pistor, Dennis J. Snower, Olsen Richard, Angelo Ranaldo, Norbert Häring, Edward Fullbrook Jan 2014

How To Improve The Financial Architecture And Its Resilience, Dirk Helbing, Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Fabio Caccioli, J. Doyne Farmer, Steve Keen, Katharina Pistor, Dennis J. Snower, Olsen Richard, Angelo Ranaldo, Norbert Häring, Edward Fullbrook

Faculty Scholarship

This financial resilience survey was circulated on behalf of a working group of the Complexity Council of the World Economic Forum comprised of Prof. Eve Mitleton-Kelly of London School of Economics and Prof. Dirk Helbing at ETH Zurich's Risk Center. It was sent to a few dozens of financial experts with the aim to create an inventory of ideas of how the financial system might be improved and made more resilient. Unconventional ideas were also welcome.


The Bankruptcy Code’S Safe Harbors For Settlement Payments And Securities Contracts: When Is Safe Too Safe?, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2014

The Bankruptcy Code’S Safe Harbors For Settlement Payments And Securities Contracts: When Is Safe Too Safe?, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article addresses insolvency law-related issues in connection with certain financial-markets contracts, such as securities contracts, commodity contracts, forward contracts, repurchase agreements (repos), swaps and other derivatives, and master netting agreements. The Bankruptcy Code provides special treatment—safe harbors—for these contracts (collectively, qualified financial contracts or QFCs). This special treatment is considerably more favorable for nondebtor parties to QFCs than the rules applicable to nondebtor parties to other contracts with a debtor. Yet even some strong critics of the safe harbors concede that some special treatment may be warranted. This Article offers a critique of the safe harbor for settlement payments, …