Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/157962
Authors: 
Bertsch, Christoph
Hull, Isaiah
Zhang, Xin
Year of Publication: 
2016
Series/Report no.: 
Sveriges Riksbank Working Paper Series 319
Abstract: 
On December 16th of 2015, the Fed initiated "liftoff," raising the federal funds rate range by 25 basis points and ending a 7-year regime of near-zero rates. We use a unique dataset of 640,000 loan-hour observations to measure the impact of liftoff on interest rates in the peer-to-peer lending segment of the subprime market. We find that the average interest rate dropped by 16.9-22.6 basis points. This holds for 14 and 28 day windows centered around liftoff, and is robust to the inclusion of a broad set of loan-level controls and fixed effects. We also find that the spread between high and low credit rating borrowers decreased by 16% and demonstrate that this was not generated by a change in the composition of borrowers along observable dimensions. Furthermore, we find no evidence that either result was driven by a collapse in demand for funds. Our results are consistent with an investor-perceived reduction in default probabilities; and suggest that liftoff provided a strong, positive signal about the future solvency of subprime borrowers, reducing their borrowing cost, even as short term rates increased in other markets.
Subjects: 
peer-to-peer lending
subprime consumer loans
Fed liftoff
monetary policy signaling
default channel
household debt
JEL: 
D14
E43
E52
G21
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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