On the risks of a new U.S. credit overheating

An interesting speech by Jeremy Stein emphasizes the ingrained tendency of financial institutions to boost earnings by selling tail risk insurance in forms not covered by covered risk measures and regulation. Hence, financial innovation, changes in regulation, and macroeconomic changes often result in credit market overheating through implicit subordination in conjunction with excessive maturity transformation. At present such tendencies may materialize in the rising share of low-grade credit issuance, the rapid expansion of agency mortgage REITs, and the increasing maturity of securities in bank portfolios. For the future, the expansion of collateral swaps and other forms of collateral transformation deserves attention.