The Interbank Lending Market refers to the transactions that occur between financial institutions in money markets. These transactions are usually loans between banks with excess reserves and banks in need of capital, and have maturities of less than one year.
Why Do Banks Loan Each Other Money?
Typically, Interbank Lending occurs for several reasons:
- Satisfying reserve requirements issued from their central bank
- Managing day-to-day needs for capital to cover operating costs
- Increasing reserves to guard against liquidity risks, offest balance sheet liabilities, and protect a bank from insolvency
- Providing an overleveraged institution with emergency capital to prevent bankruptcy
What Types Of Funds Are Used?
Interbank loans consist of short-term debt securities, usually instruments that are very liquid and have high yields (dividends made on securities). These debt-securities are widely regarded as cash equivalents due to the prominence of secondary markets for them and their high marketability. Here's a short list of securities that are commonly used:
- Certificates of Deposit
- Repurchase Agreements
- Commercial Paper
- Eurodollar Deposit
- Federal Agency Short-Term Securities
- Federal Funds
- Municipal Notes
- Treasury Bills
- Money Funds
- Foreign Exchange Sales
- Asset Backed Securities
Because of the wide number of markets for these types of products, banks can often sell the pools of assets that they own on the open market before the loans they acquire actually mature.
How Are These Transactions Processed?
Most uses of the term Interbank Lending refer to the uncollateralized, over-the-counter transactions using federal funds, the deposits in accounts at Federal Reserve banks. When a bank is in need of capital to meet reserve requirements or just to fund their day-to-day expenses, it approaches an institution with excess reserves and depending on the relationship between the two, a transaction is made. The bank with excess reserves loans the bank in need the funds at the interbank rate which is set by their central bank. Note that these funds are pledged without significant or even adequate collateral, so the system of interbank lending is largely based on the confidence that one institution has in the credit-worthiness of another.