- “Panic At The Repo”: One Of The World’s Top Repo Experts Explains What Really Happened
by Tyler Durden, https://www.zerohedge.com/
Authored by Curvature Securities‘ Scott E.D. Skyrm, one of the world’s most-respected repo market participants and experts.
Panic At The Repo
As a professional trader, I keep an eye out for the next panic or market crisis. Since the beginning of my career, there was a crash or panic every few years in one market or another. You try to think about what market is overbought. What market is in a bubble. What market just appeared on the cover of Time Magazine! Little did I ever imagine the Repo market would experience the next big panic. This is a market consisting of AAA-rated risk-free securities backed by the United States of America! How can there be a crisis in U.S. Treasury securities? We didn’t even make the cover of Time Magazine!
I write about the Repo market every day. As a service to our clients, I decided to put everything I know about the Repo market collapse down on paper. So here it is!
Modern Day Bank Run
We’ve seen the old pictures or films of people lining up outside of a bank to collect their deposits. Think of the Depression in the 1930s. Knowing that a bank can’t make good on all of their customers’ deposits means the first people to get their money are more likely to get their money. Period. Banks never keep all of their customers’ deposits as cash on hand. They invest those customers’ deposits by making loans – like a mortgage loan to a family to buy a home or loan to a business to help start a new venture. Banks invest in loans and borrow money through deposits. That also means they loan long-term and borrow short-term. Don’t worry, this is important later on.
Though banks still have the same problem today – lending long-term and borrowing short-term, increased regulation and stronger risk management has forced them to narrow the tenure mismatch. These days banks have a larger percentage of their funding borrowed in the term markets by issuing CDs, medium-term notes, and even bonds. Since banks manage their tenure mismatch much better, they are not as susceptible to the classic “run on the bank.” However, in recent years, new categories of financial institutions have popped-up that are more susceptible to “bank runs.”