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

Chapter in NBER book Risk Topography: Systemic Risk and Macro Modeling (2014), Markus K. Brunnermeier and Arvind Krishnamurthy, editors (p. 149 - 161)
Conference held April 28, 2011
Published in August 2014 by University of Chicago Press
© 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

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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