Liquidity Mismatch Helps Predict Bank Failure and Distress

Liquidity mismatch compares the saleability (liquidity) of a bank’s assets to the stability of its funding. Assets such as cash and Treasury bonds are highly saleable and one can expect a ready market even in times of crisis. Residential mortgages are less liquid, but still saleable at a discount, while development and construction loans may prove unsaleable at any price when the market is under stress.

In terms of funding, long-term deposits offer stability but are far more expensive than short-term wholesale sources and call deposits. The latter, however, are highly unstable and were instrumental in the collapse of Northern Rock (UK) and Washington Mutual (US) during the global financial crisis (GFC).

The challenge facing bank regulators is to monitor liquidity mismatch to ensure bank health. The more illiquid and speculative the assets are, the more stable (illiquid) the bank’s funding sources must be to avoid a liquidity crisis during a market down-turn.

Liquidity mismatch =
(Liquidity-weighted liabilities – Liquidity-weighted assets) / Total assets

This paper by J.B. Cooke, Christoffer Koch and Anthony Murphy at the Dallas Fed (Liquidity Mismatch Helps Predict Bank Failure and Distress) suggests that large banks suffer from higher levels of liquidity mismatch and that liquidity mismatch is as important as capital ratios in determining bank health:

Precrisis Rise in Mismatch
Liquidity mismatch rose significantly between 2002 and 2007. The median level of mismatch climbed about 6 percentage points. Most of this rise was driven by changes in liquidity-weighted assets rather than liquidity-weighted liabilities. Banks pursued higher returns on riskier, less-liquid assets. To a lesser extent, banks relied less on stable core deposits and more on “unstable” wholesale funding. The rise in liquidity mismatch before the financial crisis is noteworthy because equity capital (as a percentage of assets)—the ultimate buffer against losses—changed little. The rise in mismatch was faster and more persistent at the largest banks, representing the top 25 percent of institutions (Chart 2). Among those banks, the median mismatch rose about 8.5 percentage points between 2002 and 2007, while at the 25 percent representing the smallest banks, the increase was only 3 percentage points.

Early-Warning Sign?
Bank regulators look for early-warning signs of distress. Is liquidity mismatch one? Comparing the fourth quarter 2007 mismatch levels of commercial banks that failed or became distressed in 2008 or 2009 with those that did not may provide an indication. The average levels of liquidity mismatch for the two groups were significantly different. Failed or distressed banks generally had much higher levels of liquidity mismatch, as shown by the final entry in the liquidity mismatch row of Table 1.

Liquidity Mismatch

While the timing of the changes in liquidity mismatch (as seen in Chart 2) and the difference in levels of mismatch at any one time (as seen in Table 1) suggest that liquidity mismatch is important, they do not necessarily imply that a rise in liquidity mismatch helps predict future bank failure or distress. Higher levels of liquidity mismatch may be correlated with lower levels of equity capital and higher proportions of brokered deposits and construction and land development loans as well as with nonperforming assets or lower returns on assets—all well-known predictors of failure or distress.

Modeling Failure and Distress
Statistical models were used to disentangle the effects of changes in liquidity mismatch from the effects of changes in equity capital and the other predictors of bank failure and distress between 2006 and 2011.9 This period was chosen because it followed a time when there were very few failures or cases of distress, the early 2000s. Failure or distress up to two years ahead was considered. For example, fourth quarter 2007 data were used to predict failure or distress any time in 2008.10 The results suggest that recent failure and distress rates are explained or predicted by many of the same factors as in 1985–92, when large numbers of commercial banks and savings and loans failed. These factors include too little equity capital, a high ratio of nonperforming assets and a high share of construction and land development lending……

Liquidity Mismatch Matters
Liquidity mismatch rose significantly before the financial crisis, especially at large banks, our research shows. The rise in mismatch contributed to the rise in bank failures and cases of distress. Liquidity mismatch helps predict bank failure or distress one year ahead, even accounting for equity capital and the other indicators at which regulators look.

Cooke is an economic analyst, Koch is a research economist and Murphy is an economic policy advisor and senior economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Hat tip to Barry Ritholz.

Philip Glass: Glassworks

Comment by Thom Ervin:

I play Glass when I’m in a creative mood. The repetitiveness keeps my mind focused and then my mind and the music sync and the shifts in chords and harmonies and whatnot energize me and leave me with enough variation.

And Don Rory:

There is music that is driven by melody, there is music driven by the soundscape it creates; there is music driven by lyrics and the message or an idea. There is no rule to what is more important. You find your own meaning in it, and that’s the only thing that matters.

T-Bonds Burn, RBA Minutes Next

From Adam Button on

…..The direction of the bond market in recent weeks has been a major driver but what was notable on Monday was the divergence. Bund yields were up 2.5 basis points while 10-year Treasury yields were up 9 bps.

This might be the start of a new stage for bonds. In the rout, everything was being thrown overboard but now market participants are looking through the wreckage to decide what’s worth keeping. Ultimately, the ECB is still buying 60 billlion euros of bonds per month and that may keep bund yields pinned, at least relatively.

Read more at T-Bonds Burn, RBA Minutes Next.

ASX 200: Support or resistance?

ASX 200 support at 5750, 5650 or 5550: which is most relevant? Judging by some of the questions received, I succeeded in confusing a number of readers. Here is a brief summary:

  • 5750 acted as medium-term support until the beginning of May, when breach of 5750 and the rising trendline warned of a correction.
  • 5750 transformed into medium-term resistance and penetration would suggest the correction is over.
  • There is a strong band of support between the two recent (2014) highs of 5650 and 5550.
  • Breach of this band (i.e. below 5550) would indicate a test of primary support at 5120.
  • Respect (i.e. 5550 intact) would provide a solid base for a rally and a further (primary) advance if resistance at 6000 is broken.

Mild decline of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow suggests medium-term selling pressure — not a reversal. Recovery above 5750 remains more likely than breach of 5550.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 6000 + ( 6000 – 5750 ) = 6250

Asian stocks

The Shanghai Composite is consolidating between 4000 and 4500. Breach of either of these levels would signal future direction. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of medium-term selling pressure, favoring the downside.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3500 + ( 3500 – 2500 ) = 4500

Short retracement on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is a bullish sign. Breakout above 20000 would offer a target of 22000*. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow reflects medium-term selling pressure; recovery above the descending trendline would be a bullish sign.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 20000 + ( 20000 – 18000 ) = 22000

India’s Sensex found support between 26500 and 27000. Long tails suggest medium-term buying pressure. Recovery above 28000 and the descending trendline would suggest another attempt at 30000. But 13-week Twiggs Money Flow remains below zero, warning of (long-term) selling pressure. Another peak below zero would warn of breach of primary support and a reversal.


European stocks

Germany’s DAX encountered support above 11000. Penetration of the descending trendline would indicate the correction is over and follow-through above 12000 would suggest a primary advance. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of continued selling pressure and a further test of 11000, but respect of support remains likely and would provide a solid base for further advances.


The Footsie also displays long tails, suggesting medium-term buying support, but declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates continued selling pressure. Breach of 6900 would warn of a correction to 6700, but further losses are unlikely at present. Recovery above 7100 would confirm the long-term breakout, offering a target of 8000*.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 7000 + ( 7000 – 6000 ) = 8000

Long-tailed candles: North America

Stocks are recovering from their recent soft patch and breakout above resistance is likely, signaling further gains.

The S&P 500 is testing medium-term resistance at 2120. Breakout would signal an advance to 2200*. Three weekly candles with long tails reflect medium-term buying pressure, while a 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough high above zero indicates long-term pressure. Retracement that respects the new support level at 2100 would further strengthen the bull signal.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 2120 + ( 2120 – 2040 ) = 2200

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) at 12 indicates low risk typical of a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

Dow Jones Industrial Average is testing resistance at 18300. Buying pressure appears similar to the S&P 500 and breakout would offer a target of 19000*.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 18300 + ( 18300 – 17600 ) = 19000

Canada’s TSX 60 found support at 870. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum holding above zero continues to indicate a primary up-trend. Breakout above 900 would offer a long-term target of 1000*.

TSX 60 Index

* Target calculation: 900 + ( 900 – 800 ) = 1000

B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone

“The Thrill Is Gone,” written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins in 1951 was recorded by B.B. King in June 1969:

B.B. King’s obituary in the NY Times by Tim Weiner:

B. B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89…..

B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a shack surrounded by dirt-poor sharecroppers and wealthy landowners…..

By early 1940 Mr. King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar…..

In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Ark. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air…..

Read more at B. B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89 –

Gold: Ichimoku Cloud

Ichimoku is roughly translated as ‘one glance’ and is intended as a complete trading system. Developed by Japanese journalist Goichi Hosoda in the 1960s, the aim of Ichimoku is to present the entire picture of long- and short-term price action in a single chart. ‘Cloud’ refers to the appearance of the Senkou A and B indicators (plotted 26 periods ahead of the current period) which indicate overall bullishness or bearishness of the market. Price action above the cloud is bullish, below the cloud is bearish, while within the cloud is uncertain. A green cloud further strengthens a bull signal, or weakens a bear signal, while a red cloud does the opposite.

Gold: Ichimoku Cloud

The weekly chart shows a strong bear trend, with price action below a predominantly red cloud. The latest candle, however, penetrated the lower border of the cloud, indicating a period of uncertainty. Given the overall bearish posture of the chart, price action is likely to resolve to the downside and reversal below the cloud would generate a short signal, especially if confirmed by the fast MA (blue Tenkan) below the slow MA (red Kijun). Recovery above the upper border of the cloud is unlikely, but would signal reversal to an up-trend.

You can find further details on Ichimoku Cloud at Incredible Charts: Ichimoku Cloud and Daily FX: A Walk Through Ichimoku.

China: Cement Production

Lowest cement production in more than 10 years reflects the decline in infrastructure investment. Not good news for Australian resources stocks. Where cement production goes, iron ore and coal are likely to follow.

US GDP: Where is it headed?

I originally got this from Matt Busigin (I think). Average Hourly Earnings multiplied by Average Weekly Hours (Total Private: Nonfarm) gives a pretty good indication of where GDP is headed, well ahead of the BEA accounts.

Nominal GDP compared to Average Hourly Earnings of All Employees (Total Private) multiplied by Average Weekly Hours (Total Private Nonfarm)

Remember this is nominal GDP, so the latest (April 2015) figure of 4.38% would need to be adjusted for inflation. Inflation is somewhere between 0.5% and 1.75% depending on how you measure it. The GDP deflator looks like it will come in below 1.0% which would leave us with real GDP of at least 3.38% p.a.

GDP Price Deflator compared to Core CPI

Federal budget 2015: worst cumulative deficits in 60 years | Chris Joye

Chris Joye (AFR) on the budget deficit:

There are two critical differences in 2015 that make Australia’s current debt burden [42.2% of GDP] much more troubling than that serviced by previous generations. Back in the 1977 and 1983 recessions, the household debt-to-income ratio was only 34 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively. Even in the 1991 recession, it was just 48 per cent, which is one reason why home loan arrears were so benign. Yet by 2015, the household debt-to-income ratio had jumped 3.2 times to an incredible 154 per cent, which is above its pre-GFC climax because families haven’t deleveraged….

Public Debt to GDP and Household Debt to Income

Public and private debt levels are important to our economic health, but where the money is borrowed domestically it is far less serious than when it is borrowed offshore. In the former case, net debt in the economy is effectively zero — one sector runs a surplus while the other runs a deficit — but where money is borrowed offshore, the nation as a whole becomes a net debtor. Which is why short-term borrowing in international markets by Australian banks — used to fund the housing bubble in the run up to the GFC — was so dangerous.

From Greg McKenna (House & Holes) at Macrobusiness:

“….The funding gap is estimated to be $600 billion. In a speech on Friday, Westpac deputy chief executive Phil Coffey cited research from PwC which estimated the gap could grow to $1.325 trillion if there was a pick-up in credit growth.”

Here is the latest chart from the RBA showing the rising borrowing, it’s quarterly and likely lagging:

International Liabilities of Australian Banks

Notice how the article is focused entirely upon the “funding gap” as a tactical challenge in which the banks are innocent players. In reality there is no “funding gap”. Rather, our financial system is addicted to unproductive mortgage-lending and that crowds out the kind of business lending that would generate income growth and local savings. The “funding gap” is created by the banks not serviced by them.

International borrowing to fund a domestic property bubble is double trouble.

Read more at Federal budget 2015: worst cumulative deficits in 60 years |

And at Macrobusiness: Australia ramps the risk as banks borrow abroad

Credit expansion cannot increase the supply of real goods. It merely brings about a rearrangement. It diverts capital investment away from the course prescribed by the state of economic wealth and market conditions. It causes production to pursue paths which it would not follow unless the economy were to acquire an increase in material goods. As a result, the upswing lacks a solid base. It is not a real prosperity. It is illusory prosperity. It did not develop from an increase in economic wealth [i.e. the accumulation of savings made available for productive investment]. Rather, it arose because the credit expansion created the illusion of such an increase. Sooner or later, it must become apparent that this economic situation is built on sand.

Hat tip to John Hussman

Ludwig von Mises: The Causes of Economic Crisis (1931)