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Chicago Fed Letter

Housing Markets in a Time of Crisis: A Historical Perspective

By Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, and Ken Snowden

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) public health crisis unfolds, a second crisis in the economy is developing as well. One economic concern, among many, is the debt burden of households. Early reports point to a surge in unemployment claims during March 2020, raising the prospect that widespread unemployment is likely to impair the ability of households to make payments on their home mortgages and other loans in the months ahead. This represents a potential crisis in mortgage markets, as borrowers who are temporarily unemployed—but for an unknown period—may face default on their mortgages.

A Risk-Premium Adjustment to the Policy Rate Path

By Stefania D’Amico, Vamsi Kurakula, and Santiago I. Sordo Palacios

We offer a method to derive a risk-premium adjustment to the risk-neutral policy rate path implied by raw financial quotes. Our method aims to preserve the information derived from high-frequency data, while also filtering out noise unrelated to future macro-finance conditions.

Improving Midwest Agriculture and the Environment

By David B. Oppedahl

On November 20, 2019, the Chicago Fed held a conference to examine environmental issues related to Midwest agriculture, with a particular focus on conservation practices. Experts from academia, the farming and food industries, and policy institutions gathered to discuss how to keep the region’s farms economically viable while improving the sustainability of its natural resources.

Bringing It Home: The 14th Annual Community Bankers Symposium

By Pamela Kennedy, Mark Ahern, Aaron Berlowe, Jennifer Dollen, Elizabeth Ewing, Robert Jefferies, William Mark, Jessica Swiatek, and Scott Verbeke

The 14th annual Community Bankers Symposium, cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on November 22, 2019. During a full day of speeches and panels, community bank executives, financial industry practitioners, and regulatory agency professionals who work in the Seventh Federal Reserve District explored the current landscape of community banking. This article provides an overview of the event’s key presentations and discussions.

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