My former student writes,
I just read the post–thanks. But I now have more questions. Am I slow, or is the repo market really hard to understand?
When you talk about the original intent of repo, I have a few questions:
1) I understood from Metrick in class that the repo market functions as a type of banking system. Dealers take “deposits” and provide securities as collateral; these deposits are returned at some point with interest. Is that different than what you say the repo system used to be, or is that the same?
2) You say that Gorton/Metrick make no distinction with what the repo market used to do, and what it now does. That investment banks used to keep inventory and sell it, but now they have trading and investment portfolios. What does this mean with regard to the repo market? I.e. how does this change what’s happening?
3) Metrick did say that the securitization of real estate was what created new “safe” securities that people with assets they didn’t want to put at risk demanded. Is this the thing you find inherently dangerous? The idea of manufacturing new, relatively “safe”, liquid assets?
Sorry if these questions are stupid–or even embed inaccuracies/misunderstandings. I think I understand the type of transactions that takes place in the repo market, but I’m not at all sure who are the counterparties on opposite sides of the deal, why they want these deals in the first place for such brief periods, and why this market is as large as it is.
Here are my answers: Continue reading