Shadow banking, as one of the main sources of financial stability concerns, is the subject of much international debate. In broad terms, shadow banking refers to activities related to credit intermediation and liquidity and maturity transformation that take place outside the regulated banking system. This paper presents a first investigation of the size and the structure of shadow banking within the euro area, using the statistical data sources available to the ECB/Eurosystem.
The FSB has roughly estimated the size of the global shadow banking system at around € 46 trillion in 2010, having grown from € 21 trillion in 2002. This represents 25-30% of the total financial system and half the size of bank assets. In the United States, this proportion is even more significant, with an estimated figure of between 35% and 40%. However, according to the FSB estimates, the share of the assets of financial intermediaries other than banks located in Europe as a percentage of the global size of shadow banking system has strongly increased from 2005 to 2010, while the share of US located assets has decreased. On a global scale, the share of those assets held by European jurisdictions has increased from 10 to 13% for UK intermediaries, from 6 to 8% for NL intermediaries, from 4% to 5% for DE intermediaries and from 2% to 3% for ES intermediaries. FR and IT intermediaries maintained their previous shares in the global shadow banks assets of 6% and 2% respectively.
The rapid growth of the market-based financial system since the mid-1980s changed the nature of financial intermediation in the United States profoundly. Within the market-based financial system, “shadow banks” are particularly important institutions. Shadow banks are financial intermediaries that conduct maturity, credit, and liquidity transformation without access to central bank liquidity or public sector credit guarantees. Examples of shadow banks include finance companies, asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) conduits, limited-purpose finance companies, structured investment vehicles, credit hedge funds, money market mutual funds, securities lenders, and government-sponsored enterprises. Shadow banks are interconnected along a vertically integrated, long intermediation chain, which intermediates credit through a wide range of securitization and secured funding techniques such as ABCP, asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and repo. This intermediation chain binds shadow banks into a network, which is the shadow banking system. The shadow banking system rivals the traditional banking system in the intermediation of credit to households and businesses. Over the past decade, the shadow banking system provided sources of inexpensive funding for credit by converting opaque, risky, long-term assets into money-like and seemingly riskless short-term liabilities. Maturity and credit transformation in the shadow banking system thus contributed significantly to asset bubbles in residential and commercial real estate markets prior to the financial crisis.