Liquidity is central to the stability of the financial system. A “run on the bank” can kill even sound institutions if they cannot readily find the cash to cover short-term demands. Further, scrambling to find cash can force some players to sell assets at distressed prices and this, in turn, may trigger insolvencies and failures. A key role of central banks is to be a “lender of last resort” in times of crisis to prevent liquidity problems from triggering a full-fledged financial crisis. A resilient financial system needs rules to ensure financial institutions maintain adequate liquidity and that the central banks provide a backstop for crisis situations.
On April 30, the Initiative on Business and Public Policy at Brookings hosted a day-long event addressing these topics. Many high-level experts from industry, academia, and government came together to consider key issues related to liquidity and the lender of last resort, including: the function and liquidity adequacy of banks; the liquidity coverage ratio, net stable funding ratio, and short-term wholesale funding market reform; liquidity needs in the post-crisis world; and liquidity provision for bank resolution.