William Bednar |

Senior Research Analyst


William Bednar, Senior Research Analyst
William Bednar is a senior research analyst in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His work primarily focuses on banking and financial markets, macroeconomics, and monetary policy.
 
Mr. Bednar holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics from the College of Wooster and a master’s degree in economics from Cleveland State University.
  • Fed Publications
Title Date Publication Author(s) Type

 

September, 2014 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Trends
Abstract: US inflation moved up this spring after subdued readings in late 2013 and at the start of 2014. Measured on a year-over-year basis, inflation was stable near 1.6 percent from April through July according to the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE). As is normally the case, inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) was somewhat higher, averaging 2 percent during that time, though it too was relatively stable. However, the August CPI report broke this stable trend. One potential factor that could be weighing on US inflation—and which might serve as a headwind to future increases in inflation—is recent international developments, such as the unsteady recovery and low inflation outlook in the euro zone.

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August, 2014 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Trends
Abstract: Since January 2012, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has explicitly stated an inflation target of 2 percent. Since that time, most measures of inflation have been running persistently below that target. While in recent months some inflation indicators have made progress in moving back toward 2 percent, determining just how close we are to the FOMC’s target depends on which inflation measure we look at.

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2014-12 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Average interest rate risk in the banking system has been increasing since the end of the financial crisis and is almost back to its pre-recession level. But the increase has not occurred uniformly at large and small banks. At big banks, risk, while increasing, hasn't yet reached its pre-recession high. It's in small banks where we see a steep rise in interest rate risk. The big banks' exposure is being driven mainly by their liabilities. At small banks, it is coming from both their assets and liabilities.

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June, 2014 ; Mehmet Pasaogullari; Economic Trends
Abstract: After hovering in a narrow range between 1.0 percent and 1.6 percent for eight months straight, annual inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 2.0 percent in April. Part of the uptick is explained by food prices, which have increased more in the past three months than has been typical over the past few years. However, underlying inflation measures have also increased slightly, which suggests that something more than rising food prices may be at work.

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April, 2014 ; John B Carlson; Economic Trends
Abstract: In March, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released its updated Summary of Economic Projections. According to our researchers, changes from December to March in where FOMC participants see the federal funds rate at the end of the next few years suggest that participants generally see a tighter policy environment over the next few years than they saw in December of 2013. The fact that the FOMC’s outlook for the unemployment rate generally improved from December to March and the outlook for inflation generally remained the same explains why there might have been some shifting in the expected path of the federal funds rate.

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April, 2014 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: The tri-party repo market is a platform where security-rich borrowers are matched with cash-rich lenders. At its peak, around $2 trillion worth of securities changed hands daily in this market.Often referred to as the bloodline and plumbing of the financial system, the tri-party repo market motivated a number of policy interventions during the recent financial crisis after the potential for disruptions in the market threatened to interrupt funding flows. Here we look at what is happening currently in this important market.

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March, 2014 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Trends
Abstract: The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee has set a long-run objective for consumer price inflation of 2.0 percent. However, most measures of inflation in the US have declined over the past year and are running consistently below this objective. In this article, we apply three inflation measures to quarterly data to assess what each says about whether trend inflation may have declined in recent years and what each implies for the inflation outlook.

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February, 2014 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Trends
Abstract: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.1 percent from December to January according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Cold weather across the country contributed to the increase in the CPI, as the electricity and natural gas components of the index both rose sharply. But more generally, an important factor behind recent inflation readings has been an upward trend in inflation in the shelter component of the CPI.

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December, 2013 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: Capital levels offer a glimpse into the health of the banking system. Here we analyze the tier-1 risk-based capital at banks of different sizes. We look at banks with less than $100 million in assets up to banks with more than $10 billion and compare their capital levels to levels regulators deem sufficient.

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October, 2013 ; Mehmet Pasaogullari; Economic Trends
Abstract: Consumer prices are rising slowly according to the latest data, although the disinflationary pressure seen in the spring has abated. To gauge where households, professional forecasters, and market participants expect inflation to be in the future, we look at recent survey and market-based measures of inflation expectations. These measures are among the most successful predictors of future inflation.

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August, 2013 ; John B Carlson; Sara Millington; Economic Trends
Abstract: The Fed has made no explicit changes to monetary policy actions since the beginning of the year. Still, interest rates have been steadily rising over the past few months. Statements by Fed policymakers may have something to do with the increase--which goes to show how important communications can be in carrying out monetary policy.

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June, 2013 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Trends
Abstract: The FOMC's preferred headline and core PCE inflation measures have been falling and are now lower than they were during the last bout of disinflation in 2010. But CPI-based measures are flashing somewhat different signals. We discuss the similarities and differences between disinflation today and in 2010, along with their implications.

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June, 2013 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: The banking sector seems to have transitioned to a new state in which a higher percentage of bank assets is held in safe forms. During and after the last recession, the percentage of bank assets held in cash, Treasury securities, and agency securities experienced a steep rise, while loans and leases dropped.

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May, 2013 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Trends
Abstract: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent release of the Consumer Price Index reported that the index declined in April. This follows a monthly decline in March. On a year-over-year basis, CPI inflation slowed from a recent peak of 2.0 percent in February to 1.1 percent in April. Taken at face value, this slowing of inflation suggests some further deceleration of inflationary pressure in the U.S. economy. A careful assessment of underlying price trends suggested by other, “core” measures of CPI inflation provides further evidence of this deceleration.

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March, 2013 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Trends
Abstract: Over time, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has sought to improve its public communications by providing more guidance on the likely future path of monetary policy. That is, the FOMC has tried to better explain to the public the direction the Committee expects its target for the federal funds rate to take in the future.

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February, 2013 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: The year 2012 was a busy one for risky debt. The total value of the various forms of risky debt that were issued—corporate debt, asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and municipal debt in particular—grew substantially over the previous year, while yield spreads for these instruments decreased.

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January, 2013 ; John B Carlson; Economic Trends
Abstract: The uniqueness of the most recent recession and its connection to a financial crisis has provided many challenges to policymakers, including the FOMC. The subsequent recovery, which is slowly progressing, still features a number of factors that are creating uncertainty about when the economy might return to a more normal trajectory.

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January, 2013 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: The last financial crisis serves as a clear reminder of the importance of having a banking sector that can withstand a downturn in the economy or a drop in the value of its assets. One of the best protections from such a downturn is capital. Generally speaking, capital is what remains when bank liabilities are subtracted from assets; that is, it is the difference between what the bank owns and what it owes. Regulators use more precise definitions, and two of these have been steadily improving for bank-holding companies since the financial crisis.

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January, 2013 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: One test of the health of the banking sector is to evaluate how risky the assets in banks’ portfolios are. Regulators typically do this by considering banks’ risk-weighted assets. Here we will look at bank riskiness through the lens of the current regulatory system, where assets are risk-weighted according to a preset procedure established by regulators.

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October, 2012 ; John B Carlson; Economic Trends
Abstract: Along with the September meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee also released its updated projections for key economic indicators. This is the fourth set of projections released this year, and by comparing the projections in each of the releases, we can gain an understanding of how FOMC participants’ forecasts for both the near and long term have changed over the past nine months.

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September, 2012 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Trends
Abstract: Since the target federal funds rate bottomed out near its zero lower bound during the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet has been an important policy tool. This week the FOMC announced another round of asset purchases, which will further expand the balance sheet. We take a look at recent changes in the size and composition of the balance sheet and project those forward to the end of the year.

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August, 2012 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: Generally speaking, a bank-holding company (BHC) is a company that controls more than 25 percent of the voting securities of an FDIC-insured bank. One exception is if the company is holding the securities for trade. Such companies are not classified as BHCs. In this article we discuss the condition of U.S. BHCs since 2001. We focus on those with assets of more than $500 million.

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July, 2012 ; John B Carlson; John Lindner; Economic Trends
Abstract: Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed’s security holdings were restricted to a mix of Treasury securities, which consisted of a combination of short-term bills and longer-term notes and bonds. At the start of the crisis, the balance of Treasury bills fell. This dip turned out to be the beginning of a major evolution in the composition of the Fed’s portfolio. As a result of the crisis, the Fed’s security holdings have been completely transformed.

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April, 2012 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: Back when the financial crisis was in full swing, a number of simultaneously exploding problems struck at AIG (American International Group). The Fed’s response was swift and varied. One particular response was Maiden Lane II, created to deal with problems in AIG’s securities-lending program. The last securities in Maiden Lane II were sold off at the end of February 2012. Did the American public and New York Fed benefit from the investment?

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February, 2012 ; Mahmoud Elamin; Economic Trends
Abstract: Structured finance has been vilified as the culprit behind the worst recession since the Great Depression. Every aspect of its design has been disparaged: faulty underlying loans, bad incentives for originators, dubious AAA ratings and mispriced risks. Did the Great Recession spell the end of structured finance or is it making a comeback?

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