Although the phrase ‘banks create money’ forms part of popular discourse, it has precipitated a factually incorrect understanding of a bank’s role in the money creation process. Bank money creation is the result of an underlying value-for-value exchange transaction; the bank facilitates the transaction, takes over responsibility for obligations created and records the money created—the bank is not the source of money creation. This has long been understood, even if it is not immediately evident, but contemporary explanations have confounded the issue.
This paper establishes the prevailing financial factors that influence credit spread variability, and its impact on the U.S. business cycle over the Great Moderation and Great Recession periods. To do so, we develop a dynamic general equilibrium framework with a central role of financial intermediation and equity assets. Over the Great Moderation and Great Recession periods, we find an important role for bank market power (sticky rate adjustments and loan rate markups) on credit spread variability in the U.S. business cycle.