Bank Term Funding Program usage UP AGAIN (.4% to $107.242B vs $106.864B 8/9), marking the 11th consecutive week over $100B. This looks more and more like there's an over-reliance on Fed Funding--growing faster than inflation 'should be,' I believe the BTFP is a moral hazard!
Borrowing from the Bank Term Funding Program hit a NEW all time high--the 11th consecutive week above $100 billion!
What we are monitoring:
I hope to shed light on the recent uptick in borrowing due to an attempt to offset the initial shrink in M2 and dip in deposits. Buckle up!
Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP)
Richard Ostrander (one of the architects of BTFP) spoke about it the other day:
When the Federal Reserve established the BTFP, the lawyers of the New York Fed played an important role in facilitating its rapid implementation. I was responsible for coordinating among my team of attorneys at the New York Fed and the Board of Governors to ensure that our actions complied with applicable statutes and regulations.
Over the weekend of March 11 and 12, the Fed designed the BTFP to support the stability of the broader financial system by providing a source of financing for banks with Treasury, Agency and other eligible holdings whose market value had significantly diminished given interest rate increases.
There was not enough time to set up special purpose vehicles as the Fed had done for some of the pandemic programs. The only way to have the program up and running so quickly was to leverage our discount window facilities.
As a result, we turned to Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which authorizes specialized lending in unusual and exigent circumstances. The BTFP extends the maximum term of lending from the Section 10B limit of four months up to a special limit of one year. Additionally, unlike traditional discount window operations, the BTFP authorizes banks to borrow against eligible holdings up to their par value rather than their market value less a haircut
Primary Credit allows banks to borrow against collateral at the current federal funds rate:
Federal Reserve lending to depository institutions (the “discount window”) plays an important role in supporting the liquidity and stability of the banking system and the effective implementation of monetary policy.
By providing ready access to funding, the discount window helps depository institutions manage their liquidity risks efficiently and avoid actions that have negative consequences for their customers, such as withdrawing credit during times of market stress. Thus, the discount window supports the smooth flow of credit to households and businesses. Providing liquidity in this way is one of the original purposes of the Federal Reserve System and other central banks around the world.
The "Primary Credit" program is the principal safety valve for ensuring adequate liquidity in the banking system. Primary credit is priced relative to the FOMC’s target range for the federal funds rate and is normally granted on a “no-questions-asked,” minimally administered basis. There are no restrictions on borrowers’ use of primary credit.
The introduction of the primary credit program in 2003 marked a fundamental shift - from administration to pricing - in the Federal Reserve's approach to discount window lending. Notably, eligible depository institutions may obtain primary credit without exhausting or even seeking funds from alternative sources. Minimal administration of and restrictions on the use of primary credit makes it a reliable funding source. Being prepared to borrow primary credit enhances an institution's liquidity.
Notice how use of the Discount Window has PLUMMETED as BTFP has come in to play?
BTFP offers higher interest rates now but longer terms--to need over $100 billion in liquidity at over 5.5% interest must really be all about 'surviving another day'?
"Other credit extensions" includes loans that were extended to depository institutions established by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The Federal Reserve Banks' loans to these depository institutions are secured by collateral and the FDIC provides repayment guarantees.
For example, $114 billion in face value Agency Mortgage Backed Securities, Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, and Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities about to be liquidated 'gradual and orderly' with the 'aim to minimize the potential for any adverse impact on market functioning' by BlackRock.
How I understand this works:
There has been an update on this piece back in May:
Whatever the difference between the sale of the assets and the ultimate loan number is, will be the amount split up amongst all the remaining banks and applied as a special fee to make the Fed 'whole'.
FDIC Board of Directors Issues a Proposed Rule on Special Assessment Pursuant to Systemic Risk Determination of approximately $15.8 billion. It is estimated that a total of 113 banking organizations would be subject to the special assessment.
Commercial and Industrial (C&I) loans are loans made to businesses or corporations, not to individual consumers. These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including capital expenditures (like buying equipment) and providing working capital for day-to-day operations. They are typically short-term loans with variable interest rates 1.
C&I loans are a key driver of economic growth because they provide businesses with the funds they need to expand, invest, and hire, which can stimulate economic activity. They are a major line of business for many banking firms as they provide credit for a wide array of business purposes 2.
As interest rates have risen, it has becomes more expensive for banks to borrow money. This increased cost can be passed on to businesses in the form of higher interest rates on commercial and industrial loans. This means that businesses would have to pay more to borrow money, which would make them less likely to take out loans for things like expansion or equipment upgrades--lining up with the recent downturn we can observe:
Over the few weeks prior to the FDIC receivership announcements on March 10 and 12, the banking sector lost another approximately $450 billion. Throughout, the banking sector has offset the reduction in deposit funding with an increase in other forms of borrowing which has increased by $800 billion since the start of the tightening.
The right panel of the chart below summarizes the cumulative change in deposit funding by bank size category since the start of the tightening cycle through early March 2023 and then through the end of March. Until early March 2023, the decline in deposit funding lined up with bank size, consistent with the concentration of deposits in larger banks. Small banks lost no deposit funding prior to the events of late March. In terms of percentage decline, the outflows were roughly equal for regional, super-regional, and large banks at around 4 percent of total deposit funding.
Further, while deposit funding remains at a lower level throughout March for super-regional banks, the initially large inflows mostly reverse by the end of March. Notably, banks with less than $100 billion in assets were relatively unaffected.
However, during the most acute phase of banking stress in mid-March, other borrowings exceeded reductions in deposit balances, suggesting significant and widespread demand for precautionary liquidity. A substantial amount of liquidity was provided by the private markets, likely via the FHLB system, but primary credit and the Bank Term Funding Program (both summarized as Federal Reserve credit) were equally important.
To me, this is looking more and more like over-reliance on Central Bank Funding!
In conclusion, the continuous rise in the Bank Term Funding Program's usage indicates potential over-reliance on federal funding. Stakeholders and investors should monitor these developments closely.
Written by Ken Hagar, an Advisor at Bur Capital.
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