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Reverse Repurchase Agreement


A Reverse Repurchase Agreement, often called a “reverse repo” , is a financial transaction in which one party sells securities to another and agrees to repurchase those same securities at a specific future date at a higher price. This is usually a short-term agreement, often overnight, and is used primarily by banks and other financial institutions. In effect, it is a loan, with the securities acting as collateral.


The phonetics of the keyword “Reverse Repurchase Agreement” is: ri-ˈvərs ri-ˌpər-chə-səz ə-ˈgrē-mənt

Key Takeaways

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  1. Reverse Repurchase Agreement, often called “Reverse Repo” , is a practice where a party (like banks, financial institutions, or government) sells securities and agrees to repurchase them at a specified future date at a predetermined price. This acts as a short-term borrowing tool for the party selling the securities.
  2. In the context of monetary policy, central banks use reverse repos to reduce the money supply in the economy in a bid to control inflation, stabilize market fluctuations, and support the economy’s financial health. Significantly, this tool aids in providing overnight liquidity.
  3. The collateral used in Reverse Repurchase Agreements can be Treasury Bills, government bonds, or other types of securities, providing a level of security for the party buying the securities. Though typically low-risk, Reverse Repos can carry certain dangers like interest-rate risk and the risk of counterparties not fulfilling their obligations.



A Reverse Repurchase Agreement, also known as Reverse Repo, is a crucial business or financial tool that allows central banks to control money supply in the economy and stabilize market conditions. With a Reverse Repo, the central bank buys securities from commercial banks at a set price with the agreement to sell them back at a later date, often at a higher price. The importance of this method lies in its ability to drain excess reserves from the banking system, which can reduce the amount of money available for banks to loan out, thereby controlling inflation. This also provides a safe, collateralized investment option for those with short-term investment needs. Therefore, Reverse Repo is a key component in implementing monetary policy and fostering economic stability.


A Reverse Repurchase Agreement (Reverse Repo) serves as a tool for short-term borrowing, typically primarily utilized by central banks and financial institutions. Its main purpose is to control money supply within an economy. In a reserve repo transaction, central banks sell securities to commercial banks while simultaneously agreeing to buy them back at a higher price in the future. This mechanism is often used when a central bank wants to absorb excess liquidity in the market, effectively reducing the money supply, in order to maintain economic stability.On the other hand, for financial institutions and other market participants, Reverse Repos are often used as short-term investment vehicles. When commercial banks, for example, are holding excess cash reserves, instead of allowing these reserves to remain idle, they can enter into a reverse repo with the central bank, lending their funds in exchange for government securities. At the end of the agreed-upon term, the financial institution can then return the securities and receive the original cash amount plus a profit. This approach serves to boost their returns while allowing them to maintain a high degree of liquidity.


1. Central Banks: The most common and regular use of reverse repurchase agreements is with central banks. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank in the U.S. uses reverse repos to manage money supply in the economy by manipulating the short-term interest rates. The Fed sells securities to commercial banks and agrees to buy them back at a higher price at a specified date. This helps to absorb the liquidity in the market, eventually leading to an increase in short term interest rates.2. Investment Funds: Charles Schwab, the U.S.-based brokerage and banking company, might use a reverse repurchase agreement to lend money to an investment bank. In this case, Charles Schwab buys the security from the investment bank with an agreement that the bank will repurchase the security at a later date, often the following day for a higher price. This essentially represents a short-term loan from Schwab to the bank, allowing Schwab to earn interest on the loan.3. Mutual Funds: Vanguard, a mutual fund giant, might use a reverse repurchase agreement to invest excess cash. In this scenario, Vanguard buys government securities from a dealer and agrees to sell them back at a later date. This allows the company to earn interest on its cash holdings over the short term, adding to its returns for shareholders.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Reverse Repurchase Agreement?

A Reverse Repurchase Agreement, also known as a Reverse Repo , is a transaction in which an entity sells securities and agrees to repurchase them at a specified future date and price. Reverse repo is essentially a loan, with the securities acting as collateral.

How does a Reverse Repurchase Agreement work?

Reverse repos involve a buyer who purchases securities from a seller and agrees to sell them back to the original owner at a predetermined price and date. The buyer earns interest, known as repo rate, for the period.

Who utilizes Reverse Repurchase Agreements?

Financial institutions, central banks, private firms, and government entities can use reverse repurchase agreements as a short-term borrowing method or as part of their monetary policy strategies.

How is a Reverse Repurchase Agreement different from a regular Repurchase Agreement?

In a standard repurchase agreement, an institution with excess liquidity (the lender) purchases the securities with an agreement to sell them back later. In a Reverse Repurchase Agreement, it’s the opposite – an entity with securities but in need of cash (the borrower) agrees to sell them and buy them back later.

What is the risk associated with Reverse Repurchase Agreements?

The main risk involved with Reverse Repurchase Agreements is the danger that the seller may fail to repurchase the securities as agreed, leaving the buyer with securities that may have dropped in value.

What types of securities are involved in a Reverse Repurchase Agreement?

Typically, Reverse Repurchase Agreements involve high-quality, highly liquid securities such as government or agency securities, corporate bonds, or even equities.

Why would a firm choose to enter into a Reverse Repurchase Agreement?

Firms might choose to enter into a reverse repo to earn additional income on their securities holdings, to gain access to cheaper funding costs, or to ensure they have enough liquidity for their short-term needs.

How does a Reverse Repurchase Agreement impact the economy?

By serving as a tool for central banks to control money supply and interest rates in the economy, Reverse Repurchase Agreements can help stabilize economic markets. They allow central banks to absorb or inject liquidity as required.

What happens if the seller defaults on a Reverse Repurchase Agreement?

If the seller defaults in a reverse repo transaction, the buyer (the reverse repo lender) would suffer a loss if the market value of the security declines. Hence, the buyer holds the securities as collateral against such default risk.

: Is it possible to terminate a Reverse Repurchase Agreement early?

The terms of individual agreements will vary, but in many instances, either party may request an early termination of the agreement, typically by paying a pre-specified fee.

Related Finance Terms

  • Collateral Security
  • Repurchase Rate
  • Daily Margin Maintenance
  • Liquidity Management
  • Securities Lending

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