NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Improving Our Ability to Monitor Bank Lending

William F. Bassett, Simon Gilchrist, Gretchen C. Weinbach, Egon Zakrajsek


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Risk Topography: Systemic Risk and Macro Modeling, Markus K. Brunnermeier and Arvind Krishnamurthy, editors
Conference held April 28, 2011
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, we highlight some of the difficulties that arise in measuring accurately the provision of credit by the banking sector during an economic downturn, such as the one experienced during the recent financial crisis. Specifically, we argue that existing bank regulatory reports provide insufficient detail to monitor banks’ lending activities accurately. We then outline a conceptual framework for measuring bank lending that could be used to improve the existing information on banks’ on-balance-sheet lending activities and the equally-important information on banks’ off-balance-sheet credit line provision activities. We recognize that the literal adoption of our framework would increase banks’ reporting burden. Our aim, rather, is to provide a detailed description of the kind of data that would significantly inform the analysis of credit flows and greatly enhance our ability to assess the availability of bank-intermediated credit.

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