The financial services business is an information technology business that operates in an environment with substantial government involvement. The state of both technology and government intervention have evolved considerably since the financial crisis that began in 2007, with potentially large implications for the future financial system. With that in mind, the Atlanta Fed recently hosted the workshop Financial System of the Future, which was cosponsored by the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR) at Georgia State University.
This post reviews many of the papers and presentations from the workshop dealing with both financial regulation and innovations in financial technology. It also reviews one of the keynote speeches on the important topic of corporate governance. A companion macroblog post summarizes the workshop's discussion of digital currencies.
Post-crisis changes in regulation Some banks had difficulty obtaining adequate funding from private financial markets during the crisis of 2007–08, despite being well capitalized by that period's capital standards. In part, these funding difficulties were a result of bank depositors fearing that banks had not adequately provisioned for their credit losses.
A paper by University of Michigan professors Thomas Flanagan and Amiyatosh Purnanandam examines the question "Why Do Banks Hide Losses?" with a particular focus on the role of shareholder monitoring and management incentives. One problem in conducting such a study is that of separating bad investment decisions from deceptive accounting. This paper exploits an unexpected change in regulation in India to help provide such separation. This regulatory change forced all of the banks in that country to detail the extent of their underreporting of loan losses in 2015. The paper finds that weaker shareholder monitoring and higher-power executive compensation contracts are associated with more underreporting of loan losses.1 This paper helps us to understand how banks exploit accounting discretion over loan losses and reinforces the importance of supervisory oversight.