Banks' Advantage in Hedging Liquidity Risk: Theory and Evidence from the Commercial Paper Market

Evan Gatev, Philip E. Strahan

NBER Working Paper No. 9956
Issued in September 2003
NBER Program(s):   CF

This paper argues that banks have a unique ability to hedge against market-wide liquidity shocks. Deposit inflows provide funding for loan demand shocks that follow declines in market liquidity. Consequently, one dimension of bank specialness' is that banks can insure firms against systematic declines in market liquidity at lower cost than other financial institutions. We provide supporting empirical evidence from the commercial paper (CP) market. When market liquidity dries up and CP spreads increase, banks experience funding inflows. These flows allow banks to meet increased loan demand from borrowers drawing funds from pre-existing commercial paper backup lines, without running down their holdings of liquid assets. Moreover, the supply of cheap funds is sufficiently large so that pricing on new lines of credit actually falls as market spreads widen.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9956

Published: Gatev, Evan and Philip E. Strahan. "Banks' Advantage In Hedging Liquidity Risk: Theory and Evidence From The Commercial Paper Market," Journal of Finance, 2006, v61(2,Apr), 867-892.

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