When rates are zero, derivatives make every basis point count

April 28, 2020 Bob Newman



When Rates are Zero, Derivatives Make Every Basis Point Count
April 28, 2020


It’s been one quarter after another of surprises from the Federal Reserve Board.

After shocking many forecasters in 2019 by making three quarter-point cuts to its benchmark interest rate target, the data-dependent Fed was widely thought to be on hold entering 2020. But the quick onset of the coronavirus pandemic hitting the United States in March 2020 quickly rendered banks’ forecasts for stable rates useless. The Fed has acted aggressively to provide liquidity, sending its benchmark back to the zero-bound range, where rates last languished from 2008 to 2015.

During those seven years of zero percent interest rates, banks learned two important lessons...

About the Author

Bob Newman

Bob Newman is Managing Director for Chatham’s Financial Institutions business which specializes in interest rate risk management, hedge accounting and investment advisory for banks. Prior to joining Chatham in 2003, Bob spent 20 years in commercial banking, helping to start the derivatives operation at Maryland National Bank and expand the derivatives effort at SunTrust. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Economics and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

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