FLASH SALE! - "FINANCIAL MODELING COURSE BUNDLE AT 60% OFF" Enroll Now

Secured Overnight Financing Rate

Updated on March 19, 2024
Article byAnkush Jain
Edited byAnkush Jain
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)?

Secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) is the cost of borrowing cash secured after pledging treasury securities as collateral and is based on the U.S. repo market’s transactions. The fees large financial institutions lend each for overnight loans change every day. It replaces London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in the United States.

Secured Overnight Financing Rate

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Secured Overnight Financing Rate (wallstreetmojo.com)

The key participants of the repo market include large corporations, banks, other financial institutions, and government agencies like the central bank and municipalities. The New York Federal Reserve Bank publishes the SOFR rate every morning for the repo transactions on the preceding business day based on the volume-weighted median of such transactions. SOFR is also considered less risky than LIBOR, which the former replaced.

Key Takeaways

  • A secured overnight financing rate is a benchmark rate between banks or financial institutions for loans that the borrower would settle with interest the next day. In addition, Treasury securities (Government Bonds) as collateral is mandatory.
  • The rate is calculated based on the weighted-average volume of transactions the previous day. The New York Federal Reserve Bank publishes the SOFR rate daily on its official website at 8 AM ET.
  • SOFR is the replacement for LIBOR, which was prone to manipulation and unethical activities.
  • SOFR rate is helpful in the derivative market, especially for trading interest rate swap transactions.

Secured Overnight Financing Rate Explained

The secured overnight financing rate refers to the interest the bank is liable to pay to the bank for the overnight financing or borrowing received in the United States. It depends on the assumption that the borrowing bank will return the loan with the next day’s SOFR interest rate. This rate was formerly called Treasuries Financing Rate.

Other countries have their overnight rates, such as SONIA in Great Britain’s sterling market or the Euro Overnight Index Average (EONIA) in the EU.

Similar benchmark transactions for derivatives and dollar-denominated loans were initially charged based on the LIBOR. However, after unfair manipulation and unethical activities became rampant, SOFR emerged as a replacement that banks across the globe were in search to replace LIBOR.

It was initiated and implemented in 2017 and will replace LIBOR entirely by 2023. The fundamental difference between the two benchmark rates is that LIBOR relies on borrowing estimates by banks, whereas SOFR uses factual transactional data in the United States treasuries market. Additionally, while government bonds secure SOFR, LIBOR does not require any collateral to be pledged.

SOFR relies on treasury repurchase agreements. They are short-term lending agreements that require collateral to be pledged. The rates are published daily by The Federal Reserve Bank of New York based on the transactions from the previous business day.

However, banks depend on a rolling average rate to ensure smooth daily volatility. Therefore, the average is calculated over a rolling period of 30, 90, or 180 days using the secured overnight financing rate history of the respective period.

–>> If you want to learn Financial Modeling & Valuation professionally , then do check this ​Financial Modeling & Valuation Course Bundle​ (25+ hours of video tutorials with step by step McDonald’s Financial Model). Unlock the art of financial modeling and valuation with a comprehensive course covering McDonald’s forecast methodologies, advanced valuation techniques, and financial statements.

Examples

Let us understand the application of this revolutionary rate through the examples below:

Example #1

ABC Bank has an average daily cash requirement of $100 million to cater to the 20 branches in the city and its customers. On the 12th of December, they had a cash reserve of $70 million towards the end of business hours.

To meet its reserve and liquidity requirements, they secured an overnight loan from XYZ bank for $30 million, for which they produced government bonds they held as collateral.

The next day, on the 13th of December, ABC Bank returned the money with the SOFR rate declared by the New York Federal Reserve that morning to XYZ Bank.

Example #2

Express, Inc., the fashion retailing giant headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. They declared their third quarter results for 2022, which mentioned having an existing loan of $40 million, which was increased to $290 million.

During this deal, the interest rates were reduced from 2% to 2.25% according to the LIBOR benchmark to 1.60% to 1.85% under the SOFR benchmark.

Pros And Cons

Although the induction of SOFR comes as a replacement in light of its predecessor coming under scrutiny for breeding unethical activities, SOFR still has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Let us discuss the points below:

Pros

#1 – Credibility

Since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases SOFR rates daily, it is an unexpressed certification of the credibility and genuineness of such rates. The NY Federal Reserve is, in fact, next in line with the top regulatory banks in the United States banking system.

#2 – Manipulation-Free

Since the rates are based on actual transactions, the chances of manipulation are second to none compared to LIBOR, the previous benchmark.

#3 – Resilience

Owing to the process of how the rate is derived and the liquidity and depth in the underlying markets, it is more resilient than LIBOR.

Cons

#1 – Liquidity

Since the loans under LIBOR are still in practice, comparing the two shows a stark difference in their liquidity rates. The LIBOR system has more liquidity than SOFR.

#2 – Period

SOFR is an overnight rate, as in, it provides interest rates only for that limited time frame, while LIBOR is a benchmark that borrowers and lenders can use to calculate interest for up to 12 months.

#3 – Applicability

Other than the derivatives market, the usage of SOFR is relatively limited, like in the case of the cash or currency market

Chart

Let us understand the historical movement of SOFR in terms of price and volume of transactions through the chart below, published by the New York Federal Reserve’s official website.

Secured Overnight Financing Rate Chart
Source

This chart includes different transactions, such as the bilateral Treasury repurchase agreement (Repo) and transactions through delivery-versus-Payment (DVP).

The data collected from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Financial Research (OFR) and SOFR rate is calculated based on a volume-weighted median of the transactions from the previous day.

In 2022, the volume of transactions of this nature moved sideways. They ranged between $972 Billion and $1.1 Trillion. The peak of transactions occurred in November 2022. The very nature of SOFR implies that the rate is a reflection of the market mood or the market’s current status.

Moreover, the interest rates’ movement formed an upward trend ranging from 0.30% in March to 3.82% in November 2022.

Since the Federal Banks’ rates are to serve as savings instruments, a hike or lowering of the fed funds rate can also result in the upward or downward movement of SOFR.

In 2023, when SOFR would replace the LIBOR benchmark system, large financial institutions and analysts have kept a close eye on its movement as it also gives a subtle outline of the state of the economy.

Secured Overnight Financing Rate vs LIBOR

Since there has been a constant comparison of SOFR with LIBOR, let us understand the differences at different levels of their functions, applicability, time frames, and more through the table below:

BasisSOFRLIBOR
FunctionSOFR is a benchmark used to calculate the interest rates for a loan that a borrower would settle the next day based on the transactions carried out the previous day.LIBOR is a benchmark used to calculate the interest for a loan from one day to twelve months based on the estimated borrowing rates that banks levy on their borrowing counterparts. 
Collateral It is mandatory to collateralize the transaction with treasury security.No collateral is required to secure the financing. It is an unsecured loan.
PeriodIt can be used only as an interest rate for an overnight transaction. This means the interest rates are published daily based on the previous day’s transactions.LIBOR’s interest rates can be calculated for timelines ranging from overnight to twelve months.
ManipulationSince the rates are based on the actual volume of transactions on the previous day and the credibility of the institution publishing the rates, SOFR is significantly less prone to unethical activities.Since LIBOR depends on the average estimate of banks’ borrowing rates and can apply for time frames of up to one year, it is more prone to manipulation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How is secured overnight financing rate calculated?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York publishes rates daily based on the transactions made on the previous day. The calculation relies on the volume-weighted median of transactions after referring to data points from repo transactions and bilateral treasury repo transactions.

2. Where is secured overnight financing rate published?

Every business day, at approximately 8 AM ET, the New York Fed publishes the rate based on the previous day’s transactions on its official websites.

3. What is the SOFR rate tied to?

Secured overnight financing rate data is wholly derived from the transactions that occurred in the previous business day. Therefore, it accurately represents the market as it is directly related to the borrowing and repayment rates in the market.

4. What is the difference between SOFR and SOFR index?

The SOFR index calculates the compounded average of SOFR over a particular time frame. For example, in simpler terms, borrowers or analysts can use it to calculate the compounded average of SOFR for a 28- or 31-day time frame. In contrast, the SOFR average would always represent a 30-day average secured overnight financing rate.

This article has been a guide to what is Secured Overnight Financing Rate. Here, we explain its examples, chart, pros & cons, and comparison with LIBOR. You may also find some useful articles here –

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *