Category Archives: Eric Tymoigne

Money and Banking Part 13: Balance Sheet Interrelations and the Macroeconomy

By Eric Tymoigne

Past posts have focused on the mechanics of a specific balance sheet, specifically that of the central bank and of private banks. This post looks at the balance-sheet interrelations between the three main macroeconomic sectors of the economy: the domestic private sector, the government sector and the foreign sector. This macro view provides some important insights about issues such as the public debt and deficit, policy goals that are more likely to be achieved, the business cycle, among others.

Continue reading

Money and Banking Part 12: Economic Growth and the Financial System

By Eric Tymoigne

Money is the blood of capitalist enterprise and finance is about money now for money later. As such a well-developed financial system is essential for economic activity in a capitalist economy. The broader the range of promissory notes that can be issued, the more accommodative the financial system is to the demands of the productive system. Households cannot fund the purchase of a house with a credit card and there is no point in buying groceries with a 30-year mortgage. While all this may seem obvious, economists have been divided about the relevance of finance for economic activity. This divide ultimately rests on different premises on how to do economics, which John Maynard Keynes characterized as Real Exchange Economy versus Monetary Production Economy.

Continue reading

Money and Banking – Part 11: Inflation

By Eric Tymoigne

We are done with the study of banking operations. The next step is to incorporate them into the analysis of macroeconomic issues and this post begins on such topic by focusing on inflation. When inflation is mentioned, it is usually in relation to the cost of buying newly produced goods and services for consumption purpose. Another type of inflation concerns asset-prices, i.e. the price of non-producible commodities and old producible commodities. This post does not study assets-price inflation, which concerns theories of interest rate.

Continue reading

Money and Banking-Part 10: Monetary Creation by Banks

By Eric Tymoigne

The last three posts have explained how the operations of banks are constrained by profitability and regulatory concerns, and how banks operate to bypass these constraints. It is now time to go into the details of how banks get involved into providing credit and payment services to the rest of the economy.

Monetary Creation by Banks: Credit and Payment Services

Bank A just opened for business and its balance sheet looks like this:

b1

Now come household #1 who wants to buy a house worth $100 from household #2. #1 sits down with a banker (a.k.a. loan officer) who asks a few questions regarding annual income, available assets, savings, the downpayment #1 is willing to make, among others. The banker asks for documentations that corroborate the answers provided by #1. Continue reading

Money and Banking – Part 9: Banking regulation

By Eric Tymoigne

It may surprise you to know that the banking sector is one of the most regulated industries in the United States with a bank having to file regulatory documents with several agencies. These regulations determine how banks should and should not operate their business in terms of many aspects; from disclosure of information to potential customers, to means of determining creditworthiness of a potential client, to the amount of reserves to hold, to management issues, among others. For example the National Association of Mortgage Brokers noted in 2006

Mortgage brokers are governed by a host of federal laws and regulations. For example, mortgage brokers must comply with: the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), as well as fair lending and fair housing laws. Many of these statutes, coupled with their implementing regulations, provide substantive protection to borrowers who seek mortgage financing. These laws impose disclosure requirements on brokers, define high-cost loans, and contain anti-discrimination provisions. Additionally, mortgage brokers are under the oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and to the extent their promulgated laws apply to mortgage brokers, the Federal Reserve Board, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor.

Continue reading

Money and Banking-Part 8: The Private Banking Business

By Eric Tymoigne

The US financial system is extremely complicated and this series shades light only on some corners of that system by focusing on the banking sector. Here is a broad picture of the US financial system (some things have changed since the time I made this). Since the beginning of this M&B series, posts have emphasized the importance of balance sheet to get a solid understanding the mechanics at play in the financial sector. This post continues that trend.

Continue reading

Money and Banking Part 7

By Eric Tymoigne

Given that the concept of leverage will be used often in the upcoming posts, this post spends some time explaining what leverage is and some of its impacts on the balance sheet of any economic unit.

What is Leverage?

Leverage is the ability to acquire assets in an amount that is larger than what one’s own capital allows to buy. Say that an economic unit has a net worth of $100, that it has no debt and that the counterparty is $100 in cash. The balance sheet looks like this:

Figure 1. A balance sheet without leverage

Figure 1. A balance sheet without leverage

Continue reading

Money and Banking – Part 6

Treasury and Central Bank Interactions

This post concludes our study of central banking matters (there would be a lot more to cover…maybe another time). The post studies how the Fed is involved in fiscal operations and how the U.S. Treasury is involved in monetary-policy operations. The extensive interaction between these two branches of the U.S. government is necessary for fiscal and monetary policies to work properly.

Once again the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve provides a simple starting point. The Treasury holds an account (called Treasury’ General Account, TGA) at the Fed, which is part of L3.

tb1

Continue reading

Money and Banking – Part 5

By Eric Tymoigne

Previous posts studied the balance sheet of the fed, definitions and relation to the balance sheet of the fed, and monetary-policy implementation. In this post, I will answer some FAQs about monetary policy and central banking. Each of them can be read independently.

Q1: Does the Fed target/control/set the quantity of reserves and the quantity of money?

The Fed does not set the quantity of reserves and does not control the money supply (M1). It sets the cost of reserves; that’s it.

In terms of reserves, the Fed was created to provide an “elastic currency,” i.e. to provide monetary base according to the needs of the economic system in normal times and panic times. It would be against this purpose to implement monetary policy by unilaterally setting the monetary base without any regards for the daily needs of the economy system.

Continue reading

Money and Banking Blog – Part 4

By Eric Tymoigne

For convenience, I have put the balance sheet of the Fed below. A previous post examined the balance sheet and another one provided important information about the meaning of reserves and other basic concepts and their relation to the balance sheet of the Fed. Now let’s look at monetary-policy implementation.

1

What does the Fed do in terms of monetary policy and why? Continue reading