The Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet Troubles

Summary: Does anybody know why the Federal Reserve is having such a hard time reducing the amount of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) on its balance sheet?

Seven months into a plan where $36 billion should have been shrunk only $14 billion has been reduced. (The Federal Reserves owned $1.68 trillion of mortgage-backed securities when they started) In contrast, they have been reducing their holdings of Treasury Bonds by $52 billion, which is pretty close to the scheduled amount of  $54 billion (The Fed owned $2.465 trillion of treasuries)
Reducing mortgage-backed securities should not be that hard. People pay their mortgages, the Federal Reserve deletes those payments from the money supply, causing an equal amount to get subtracted from their balance sheet.
If the Fed does not pick up the pace and we end up in a recession before they significantly reduce their balance sheet, our economy risks morphing into a Japanese-style malaise.
No longer capitalistic where private banks create the money supply but one where a Central Bank, by reinvesting maturing bonds into new bonds with money they created finances the government’s debt which then establishes the public’s money supply.
Fed Balance Sheet
These are the opinions of Financial Advisor Tim Hayes and not necessarily those of Cambridge Investment Research. They are for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.


Bloomberg. “2018 Economic Calender”,April 12,2018.

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