Christopher Papagianis

As U.S. approaches the fiscal cliff, will it jump?

October 4, 2012

In many ways, we’ve already fallen off the cliff. The focus by government and market analysts on the potential medium-term impact on GDP has obscured some themes that deserve far greater attention.

The growing clout of central banks

September 18, 2012

The Fed’s decision to begin open-ended purchases of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities comes on the heels of the European Central Bank’s decision to purchase unlimited quantities of short-duration government bonds across the euro zone.

Predicting the future of housing policy

August 13, 2012

Recent changes to a mortgage refinancing program finally have it running smoothly and helping “underwater borrowers”: Can Congress really ignore this?

Election has big banks in crosshairs

July 27, 2012

Sandy Weill’s comments this week are just the latest dustup in the debate about the existence of financial institutions that are labeled by regulators and market participants as being too big to fail. Despite the criticisms leveled at these firms, the largest banks have only gotten bigger over the last few years – and U.S. regulators still appear underprepared to resolve a future failure of a systemically important financial institution without setting off broader market panic.

More to the financial crisis than just subprime

July 12, 2012

Arpit Gupta, a Ph.D. student in finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, contributed to this column.

The next crisis – and the decline of ‘safe assets’

July 2, 2012

The policy response that perhaps best connects the U.S. financial crisis and the still brewing eurozone problem is that regulators have endeavored to make financial institutions more resilient. Policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have focused on increasing financial institutions’ capital and liquidity positions to try to limit future bank failures and systemic risk. Both goals are served by increasing banks’ holdings of “safe assets” that are easily sold and retain value across different global economic environments.

Why not enact an ‘intelligent’ national infrastructure plan?

June 19, 2012

There are about 1 billion cars on the world’s roads today. By mid-century, forecasts have that number climbing to 4 billion. Meanwhile, Congress is mired in a debate over whether to pass a new highway bill. Senator Barbara Boxer, a chief negotiator of the pending bill, lamented recently that she was “embarrassed for the people of this country” that this measure had not been enacted. After all, she said, passing highway bills used to be as popular and as important as “motherhood and apple pie.”

State GDPs are evidence that Republicans may retake the Senate

June 7, 2012

The recent jobs and GDP numbers released by the government were a broad disappointment, and plenty of analysts have discussed the implications of the data. Yet, most of the analysis has focused on two dimensions – whether it’s now more or less likely that Congress or the Fed will act on either the fiscal or monetary fronts to try to boost the economic recovery.

What could hold back the start of a recovery in housing this year?

May 31, 2012

This post is adapted from the author’s testimony at a recent hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

For Washington, JPMorgan’s big failure can be an opportunity

May 16, 2012

In light of JPMorgan Chase’s bad derivatives trades, the media’s spotlight has appropriately turned to the pending Volcker Rule. That’s the moniker for the still-under-development regulation that might restrict big banks from pursuing hedging strategies across their entire portfolio, including their own bets. Proponents say banks shouldn’t be able to do this, since banks hold consumer deposits that are effectively guaranteed by taxpayers and since taxpayers could be forced to bail out a foundering bank if it’s deemed too big to fail. On the other hand, the underlying law for the Volcker Rule, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, specifically exempts or allows hedging related to individual or “aggregated” positions, contracts or other holdings, which may very well have covered JPMorgan’s recent trade.