Sizing UK banking sector’s exposures to climate policy relevant sectors

Giovanni Covi, James Brookes and Charumathi Raja

Climate transition will undoubtedly expose UK banks to new risks and opportunities. Hence, we quantify the UK banking sector’s share of total assets allocated towards climate policy relevant sectors (CPRS). Using The Global Network data set mapping the network of UK banks’ loan and security exposures, we find that the UK banking system’s direct CPRS exposures amount up to 6.1% of total assets, or 45.7% of non-financial corporate (NFC) exposures. When considering also indirect CPRS exposures towards other financial corporates, the share of total assets subject to CPRS classification increases up to 10%. While 83% of these assets are tied up in carbon-intensive sectors, 17% will likely benefit from climate transition plans. We do not measure exposures subject to climate-related physical risks.

Continue reading “Sizing UK banking sector’s exposures to climate policy relevant sectors”

Cryptoassets, the metaverse and systemic risk

Owen Lock and Teresa Cascino

Cryptoassets could have important roles within the metaverse – a decentralised, immersive next generation of the internet. Cryptoassets enable verifiable ownership of digital items, and when built to common standards, can move interoperably between web applications – increasing the asset’s value proposition. They can also align the incentives of developers, content creators, users and investors on metaverse platforms, and are required to incentivise miners and validators to add metaverse-based transactions to the underlying blockchain. We argue that if an open and decentralised metaverse grows, existing risks from cryptoassets may scale to have systemic financial stability consequences. Widespread adoption of crypto in the metaverse, or any other setting would require compliance with robust consumer protection and financial stability regulatory frameworks.

Continue reading “Cryptoassets, the metaverse and systemic risk”

Who took out mortgage payment holidays during the pandemic?

Georgina Green

The take-up of mortgage payment holidays in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic was extraordinary: according to UK Finance, holidays granted reached a peak of 1.9 million during the pandemic, or roughly one in six mortgages. But which households benefited from the scheme? In this post I use rich UK household survey data to conduct an in-depth analysis of the distribution of the debt-relief scheme at an individual level. I find that borrowers struggling to keep up with payments during Covid applied for a holiday, suggesting the scheme played an important role in preventing a sharp rise in defaults. There is also evidence that some households may have taken them as insurance against future shocks, possibly dampening precautionary spending cuts.

Continue reading “Who took out mortgage payment holidays during the pandemic?”

CoCo bonds and the risk appetite of banks: sweet or sour relationship

Mahmoud Fatouh and Ioana Neamțu

Since 2009, contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds have become a popular instrument European banks use to partially meet their capital requirements. CoCo bonds have a loss-absorption mechanism (LAM). When LAM is triggered, the bonds convert to equity capital or have their principal written down, providing more loss-absorbing capacity while a bank is still a going concern. The existing literature argues these bonds could increase risk-taking if shareholders gain at the expense of CoCo holders when the trigger is hit. In our two papers, we assess this argument theoretically and empirically. We show that the risk-taking implications of CoCo bonds rely on the direction and the size of the wealth transfer between shareholders and CoCo holders when LAM is triggered.

Continue reading “CoCo bonds and the risk appetite of banks: sweet or sour relationship”

Measuring business dynamics in real time

Thibaut Duprey, Artur Kotlicki, Daniel Rigobon and Philip Schnattinger

Just as doctors monitor in real time the vital signs of their hospitalised patients to determine the best course of treatment, economists are turning towards a real-time tracking of economic conditions to inform policy decisions (for example, through proxy for GDP and inflation). In a recent paper, we introduce a new quasi-real time estimation of business opening and closure rates using data from Google Places – the dataset behind the Google Maps service. We find that the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Canada coincides with a wave of re-entry of temporarily closed businesses, suggesting that government support may have facilitated the survival of hibernating businesses.

Continue reading “Measuring business dynamics in real time”

Climate and capital: some outstanding issues

Marco Bardoscia, Benjamin Guin and Misa Tanaka

There is a lively debate about whether and how capital regulations for banks and insurers should be adjusted in response to climate change. The Bank of England will host a conference later this year to discuss the points in favour of and against adjustments to the regulatory capital framework to take account of climate-related financial risks. The call for papers asks for research on appropriate capital tools to address these risks, eg whether risks point to microprudential tools which are firm specific or rather macroprudential system-wide ones. Moreover, it asks for research on an appropriate time horizon over which the risks should be considered and how scenarios and forward-looking data should be used. This post will review the existing literature and identify some key gaps.

Continue reading “Climate and capital: some outstanding issues”

Uncertainty in financial crisis prediction: a Bayesian approach

Jack Page

Systemic financial crises occur infrequently, giving relatively few crisis observations to feed into the models that try to warn when a crisis is on the horizon. So how certain are these models? And can policymakers trust them when making vital decisions related to financial stability? In this blog, I build a Bayesian neural network to predict financial crises. I show that such a framework can effectively quantify the uncertainty inherent in prediction.

Continue reading “Uncertainty in financial crisis prediction: a Bayesian approach”

Consumption effects of mortgage payment holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic

Alexandra Varadi and and Bruno Albuquerque

Mortgage payment holidays (PH) were introduced in March 2020 to help households who might have struggled to keep up with mortgage payments due to the pandemic. It allowed a suspension of mortgage principal and interest repayments for a maximum of six months, without affecting households’ credit risk scores. Given the novelty of the policy, we study in a new paper whether mortgage PH have supported household consumption during the pandemic, especially for those more financially vulnerable. Using transaction-level data, we find that temporary liquidity relief provided by PH allowed liquidity-constrained households to maintain higher annual consumption growth compared to those not eligible for the policy. We also find that PH led more financially stable households to increase their saving rates, not their consumption.

Continue reading “Consumption effects of mortgage payment holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic”

Credit, crises and inequality

Jonathan Bridges, Georgina Green and Mark Joy

Any distributional effects on credit of macroprudential policies are only one part of the distributional story. Relatively little is known about how such policies affect the income distribution in the longer term via their role in preventing crises or mitigating their severity. Our paper helps to fill that gap in the literature by looking at the impact of past recessions and crises on inequality, and the amplifying roles of credit and capital within that. This helps to shed light on the distributional implications of not intervening – in the form of an amplified recession. We find that inequality rises following recessions and that rapid credit growth prior to recessions exacerbates that effect by around 40%.

Continue reading “Credit, crises and inequality”

Bitesize: Efficiently green? What a simple metric can tell us about banks’ exposure to energy price shocks and the transition to a green economy

Benjamin Guin

UK residential buildings account for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. To facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy, the UK government aims to see many homes upgraded to an energy (EPC) rating of C or higher by 2035. Mortgage lenders are key in transitioning to more energy-efficient housing by financing purchases. This transition can be informed by a simple metric – like the portfolio share of mortgages for energy-efficient properties (with a rating of C or higher) relative to all outstanding mortgages, a variant of the Green Asset Ratio

Continue reading “Bitesize: Efficiently green? What a simple metric can tell us about banks’ exposure to energy price shocks and the transition to a green economy”