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The second category of bank asset is bonds , which are a common mechanism for borrowing, used by the federal and local government, and also private companies, and nonprofit organizations. A bank takes some of the money it has received in deposits and uses the money to buy bonds—typically bonds issued by the U.S. government. Government bonds are low-risk because the government is virtually certain to pay off the bond, albeit at a low rate of interest. These bonds are an asset for banks in the same way that loans are an asset: The bank will receive a stream of payments in the future. In our example, the Safe and Secure Bank holds bonds worth a total value of $4 million.

The final entry under assets is reserves    , which is money that the bank keeps on hand, and that is not loaned out or invested in bonds—and thus does not lead to interest payments. The Federal Reserve requires that banks keep a certain percentage of depositors’ money on “reserve,” which means either in their vaults or kept at the Federal Reserve Bank. This is called a reserve requirement. ( Monetary Policy and Bank Regulation will explain how the level of these required reserves are one policy tool that governments have to influence bank behavior.) Additionally, banks may also want to keep a certain amount of reserves on hand in excess of what is required. The Safe and Secure Bank is holding $2 million in reserves.

The net worth of a bank is defined as its total assets minus its total liabilities. For the Safe and Secure Bank shown in [link] , net worth is equal to $1 million; that is, $11 million in assets minus $10 million in liabilities. For a financially healthy bank, the net worth will be positive. If a bank has negative net worth and depositors tried to withdraw their money, the bank would not be able to give all depositors their money.

For some concrete examples of what banks do, watch this video from Paul Solman’s “Making Sense of Financial News.”

How banks go bankrupt

A bank that is bankrupt will have a negative net worth, meaning its assets will be worth less than its liabilities. How can this happen? Again, looking at the balance sheet helps to explain.

A well-run bank will assume that a small percentage of borrowers will not repay their loans on time, or at all, and factor these missing payments into its planning. Remember, the calculations of the expenses of banks every year includes a factor for loans that are not repaid, and the value of a bank’s loans on its balance sheet assumes a certain level of riskiness because some loans will not be repaid. Even if a bank expects a certain number of loan defaults, it will suffer if the number of loan defaults is much greater than expected, as can happen during a recession. For example, if the Safe and Secure Bank in [link] experienced a wave of unexpected defaults, so that its loans declined in value from $5 million to $3 million, then the assets of the Safe and Secure Bank would decline so that the bank had negative net worth.

Questions & Answers

pls who is a consumer
Cobby Reply
whoever use the product can be the consumer either the buyer of it or people at home who will be using the product
Donatius
compensation of goods and services by a customer with price that willing to satisfy themselves.
Kho
who describe economic
yao Reply
thediminishingarginalutility
Stanley Reply
mean
yao
pls I'm a home economic student and went I was in my formal school I was doing biology so wen I got she 2 and I went a different school and that school they don't do biology what they do is economics and I don't understand it cos I didn't learn from form one so I will need ur help in this please
Hawa Reply
what help u need
Fatema
I don't understand it I tried to learn from form one but still don't understand
Hawa
jxt follow the notes well try solving question under it
Nana
important of economics
Benita Reply
what is supply chain
Jos Reply
what is financial management? And why is it necessary in business ?
Fatema Reply
it is the managing of all transactions that take place in any business and if not managed properly it could create debts and destroy the business
Asive
What is demand?
Annonymous Reply
why is degree important in economics
Ebunoluwa Reply
important of enocomic
Adu Reply
what is division of labour
Dennis Reply
division of labour can be defined as the separation of task to individuals in any economic system to specialize on it.
Ahmad
what is demand curve
Victoria Reply
demand curve is a downward sloping economic graph that shows the relationship between the price of product and the quantity of the product demanded.
Ahmad
What is demand
Frank Reply
It refers to the quantity of a commodity purchased in the market at a price and at a point of time.
Basanta
refers to amount of commodities a consumer is willing and able to buy at particular price within a period of time
Clifford
It is the ability and willingness a customer buys a product or service at a particular price, place and time while other things remaining constant or the same
kum
It refers to the quality of a commodity purchased in the market at a price and at a point of time .
Cobby
demand refers to the quantity of goods and services a consumer is willing and able to buy at a given price within a a specific period of time
Tina
In which case is opportunity cost is zero
Francis Reply
where no alternative is available
Bhartendu
who is the father of economic
Omar Reply
Adam Smith
Suraj
ok
Tony
Adam Smith
Francis
Adam smith
Opana
Adam Smith
Basanta

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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