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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Libor benchmark interest rate is going away soon and the transition to a replacement has been a bit bumpy.

The intrigue: Why anyone cares about this particular saga is related to the fact that trillions of dollars in corporate and consumer debt are pegged to it.

  • Libor fell out of favor after regulators in 2008 revealed widespread manipulation of the rate by traders at numerous banks.

Why it matters: So far investors largely aren’t raising alarm bells over the uncertainty. But the process of moving to a new benchmark, called SOFR, has dragged on — and talk of using different alternative rates is increasingly cropping up.

What’s new: Bank of America and JPMorgan used a new Bloomberg index in a sizable trade earlier this month, the WSJ writes. That index will compete with SOFR.

  • The BofA/JPM transaction could signify a fork in the road of investor opinion on the matter, as more people think multiple benchmarks will replace Libor, instead of just one, WSJ says.

What’s at stake: "The swath of those impacted by Libor is vast — like $220 trillion vast," Meredith Coffey, executive VP at the Loan Syndications and Trading Association, tells Axios.

  • "It is the benchmark rate used in setting many adjustable-rate loans worldwide — from corporate loans to mortgages to credit cards to auto loans to student loans in various countries. And it is going away."

Watch this space: Numerous alternative rates mean investors have to do more to prepare operations, technologies — and, importantly, investment strategies — for a multirate environment.

The bottom line: Large investment banks and asset managers will undoubtedly find their way through the process. But regional banks and smaller funds may not have the same depth to adapt as quickly.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

4 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.