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FIN 3310 FC Economics Difference in Risks to The Bank Questions

FIN 3310 FC Economics Difference in Risks to The Bank Questions


Question 1: Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Tools

a. The three major tools that the Federal Reserve can use to implement monetary policy are:

  1. Open Market Operations: This involves the buying and selling of government securities (such as Treasury bonds) on the open market. When the Federal Reserve buys these securities, it increases the money supply and lowers interest rates, which can stimulate borrowing and spending. When it sells securities, it reduces the money supply and raises interest rates, which can curb inflationary pressures.
  2. Discount Rate: This is the interest rate at which commercial banks can borrow funds directly from the Federal Reserve. By raising or lowering the discount rate, the Fed can influence the cost of borrowing for banks. A higher rate discourages borrowing and can lead to higher interest rates in the economy, while a lower rate encourages borrowing and can lead to lower interest rates in the economy.
  3. Reserve Requirements: Commercial banks are required to hold a certain percentage of their deposits as reserves. By changing these reserve requirements, the Fed can influence the amount of funds banks have available to lend. Lowering reserve requirements increases the amount banks can lend and potentially stimulates economic activity, while raising them has the opposite effect.

b. The most effective tool among these three depends on the prevailing economic conditions. Generally, open market operations are considered the most flexible and effective tool. They allow the Fed to directly control the money supply, and their impact is relatively quick and precise. By buying or selling securities, the Fed can target specific interest rates and affect overall economic activity.

c. To stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve can use the following mechanisms:

  • Expansionary Monetary Policy: The Fed can buy government securities in open market operations. This increases the money supply, lowers interest rates, encourages borrowing and spending, and thus stimulates economic growth.

To contract the economy:

  • Contractionary Monetary Policy: The Fed can sell government securities, which reduces the money supply, raises interest rates, discourages borrowing and spending, and helps control inflation.

Question 2: Commercial Banks and Money Market Instruments

a. Two commonly used money market instruments by commercial banks are:

  1. Certificates of Deposit (CDs): Commercial banks issue CDs as liabilities. These are time deposits with fixed maturity dates and specified interest rates. They are essentially loans from depositors to the bank.
  2. Treasury Bills: Commercial banks invest in Treasury bills as assets. These are short-term government securities with maturities ranging from a few days to one year. Banks purchase them as a low-risk investment option.

b. Characteristics that make these instruments attractive to commercial banks include their relatively low risk, short-term nature, and ease of liquidity. CDs provide a stable source of funding for banks, while Treasury bills offer a secure investment option with a predictable return.

Question 3: Mortgage Loan Options

a. The differences in risks to the bank that justify offering two types of mortgages (FRM and ARM) include interest rate risk and borrower behavior risk:

  • Interest Rate Risk: With an ARM, the bank faces the risk that interest rates will rise in the future, leading to increased mortgage payments for borrowers. This risk is lower with a FRM, as the interest rate remains fixed.
  • Borrower Behavior Risk: If borrowers choose ARMs and interest rates increase, some may struggle to make higher payments, leading to potential defaults. This risk is lower with FRMs, as payments remain consistent.

b. The choice that might be more attractive to this borrower depends on her risk tolerance and expectations about interest rate movements. If she anticipates that interest rates will rise significantly over the next 30 years, she might opt for the FRM to lock in a consistent rate. If she believes rates will remain relatively stable or decrease, she might consider the lower initial rate of the ARM. Her choice will be influenced by her financial situation, risk preferences, and economic outlook.

Question 4: Differences Between Large and Small Banks

a. Two significant differences between the five largest banks and community banks on their Balance Sheet and Income Statement are:

  • Balance Sheet:
    • Size of Assets: The largest banks often have significantly larger asset bases, including loans, investments, and other holdings, compared to community banks.
    • Complexity of Holdings: Larger banks might have more complex financial instruments on their balance sheets, such as derivatives, structured products, and international assets.
  • Income Statement:
    • Interest and Non-Interest Income: Larger banks might have a more diverse income stream, including non-interest income from trading activities, investment banking, and asset management, whereas community banks’ income is often more reliant on interest income from traditional banking activities.

b. Regulators and consumers should be concerned about the relative size of the largest banks compared to community banks due to several reasons:

  • Systemic Risk: The failure of a large bank could have far-reaching consequences for the entire financial system, potentially leading to a domino effect of failures and economic instability.
  • Too Big to Fail: Large banks might be perceived as “too big to fail,” leading to potential moral hazard where they take on excessive risk, knowing they could receive government bailouts in a crisis.
  • Reduced Competition: The dominance of large banks could lead to reduced competition in the banking sector, limiting consumer choice and potentially leading to higher fees and less favorable terms for consumers.

Question 5: Evaluating a Bank’s Financial Performance – Earnings Component

One approach to measure and evaluate the “Earnings” component of a bank using the CAMELS system is to analyze the bank’s net income and profitability metrics. This involves examining the following aspects:

  • Net Income: This is the difference between a bank’s total revenue (interest income, fees, etc.) and total expenses (operating costs, interest expenses, provisions for loan losses, etc.). Evaluating the trend of net income over time helps assess the bank’s profitability.
  • Return on Assets (ROA): This metric calculates the bank’s net income as a percentage of its average total assets. It measures how effectively the bank generates profit from its assets.
  • Return on Equity (ROE): This metric measures the bank’s net income as a percentage of its average equity. It indicates how well the bank generates returns for its shareholders’ invested capital.
  • Net Interest Margin (NIM): This is the difference between a bank’s interest income and interest expenses, divided by its average earning assets. It reflects the bank’s ability to manage its interest rate risk and generate interest income.

Analyzing these earnings-related metrics provides insights into a bank’s financial performance, its ability to generate profits, and its overall financial health.

Question 6: Type of Bank Regulation – Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection Regulation: This type of regulation focuses on ensuring fair treatment of consumers in their interactions with financial institutions. It aims to prevent deceptive practices, provide accurate and transparent information, and safeguard consumer rights.

Example Regulation: The “Truth in Lending Act” (TILA) is a consumer protection regulation that requires lenders to disclose key terms and costs of credit to borrowers. One of the key requirements under TILA is the provision of the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to borrowers, which helps them compare the true cost of borrowing among different lenders. This regulation is designed to promote transparency in lending practices and empower consumers to make informed financial

FIN 3310 FC Economics Difference in Risks to The Bank Questions



1. a. Identify and briefly explain the three major tools that the Federal Reserve can use to implement monetary policy.

b. Identify which on of these tools is the most effective and why?

c. Indicate how the mechanism(s) described in part b. above be used to stimulate (expand or grow) or to contract (slow down) the economy?

2.Commercial Banks both issue (as liabilities) and invest in (as assets) different Money Market instruments.

a. Identify TWO of the money market instruments that are commonly used by Commercial Banks. For each instrument, indicate whether Commercial Banks issue them as liabilities or invest in them as assets.

b. What are the characteristics of these instruments that make them useful and attractive to Commercial Banks?

3. A woman is buying a house in which she expects to live for at least until her retirement twenty years from now. The house is appraised at $400,000 and she asks her Commercial Bank for a 30-year mortgage loan to finance $300,000.

The bank’s loan officer offers two types of mortgages. One is a fixed rate mortgage (FRM), the other is an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Each has a different interest rate that will be in effect at loan origination. The FRM has a higher rate but that rate will not change for the thirty years needed to fully amortize the mortgage. The ARM has a lower initial rate but it is subject to a change in rate.

a. The bank offers these two types of mortgages with different initial loan rates. What are the differences in risks to the bank that justify this?

b. Which choice do you think will be more attractive to this borrower – and why

4.The five largest banks (Too Big to Fail) in the U.S. are very different from the more numerous but much smaller community banks.

a. Discuss two significant differences between them on their Balance Sheetand Income Statement.

b. Discuss why U.S. regulators and consumers should be concerned about the relative size of these five U.S. largest banks compared to community banks.

5.There are several ways to evaluate a Commercial Bank’s financial performance, risk profile, and financial strength. One approach that regulators use are bank examinations based on the CAMELS system, which evaluates Capital, Asset quality, Management strength, Earnings, Liquidity, and Sensitivity to Markets.

Select ONE of these six components and discuss an approach to measure and evaluate that component.

6. Choose one type of Bank regulation from the following list. Describe what is meant by that type of regulation and provide ONE examples of regulations that are in that type and why they are in that type.

A. Safety & Soundness
B. Monetary Policy
C. Credit Allocation
D. Consumer Protection
E. Entry & Chartering

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