25 Years IWH

Professor Lena Tonzer, PhD

Professor Lena Tonzer, PhD
Current Position

since 9/17

Assistant Professor

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

since 5/14

Head of the Research Group Regulation of International Financial Markets and International Banking

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

since 5/14

Head of the International Banking Library

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

Research Interests

  • banking and sovereign debt crises
  • integration of financial markets
  • banking regulation

Lena Tonzer joined the Department of Financial Markets in May 2014. She coordinates the Research Group Regulation of International Financial Markets and International Banking. Her research focuses on banking and sovereign debt crises, integration of financial markets, and banking regulation. Lena Tonzer is also Assistant Professor at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (ESF project The Political Economy of the European Banking Union) since September 2017.

Lena Tonzer studied International Economics at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen before joining the doctoral programme in Economics at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence in 2010. She defended her thesis "Essays on Financial Stability and Regulation in Integrated Markets" in April 2014. In 2013, she joined the IWH as a Junior Research Affiliate.

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Professor Lena Tonzer, PhD
Professor Lena Tonzer, PhD
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Central Bank Transparency and Cross-border Banking

Stefan Eichler Helge Littke Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of International Money and Finance , No. 6, 2017


We analyze the effect of central bank transparency on cross-border bank activities. Based on a panel gravity model for cross-border bank claims for 21 home and 47 destination countries from 1998 to 2010, we find strong empirical evidence that a rise in central bank transparency in the destination country, on average, increases cross-border claims. Using interaction models, we find that the positive effect of central bank transparency on cross-border claims is only significant if the central bank is politically independent and operates in a stable economic environment. Central bank transparency and credibility are thus considered complements by banks investing abroad.

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International Banking and Cross-border Effects of Regulation: Lessons from Germany

Jana Ohls Markus Pramor Lena Tonzer

in: International Journal of Central Banking , 2017


We analyze the inward and outward transmission of regulatory changes through German banks’ (international) loan portfolio. Overall, our results provide evidence for international spillovers of prudential instruments. These spillovers are, however, quite heterogeneous between types of banks and can only be observed for some instruments. For instance, domestic affiliates of foreign-owned global banks reduce their loan growth to the German economy in response to a tightening of sector-specific capital buffers, local reserve requirements, and loan-to-value ratios in their home country. Furthermore, from the point of view of foreign countries, tightening reserve requirements is effective in reducing lending inflows from German banks. Finally, we find that business and financial cycles matter for lending decisions.

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Bank Risk Proxies and the Crisis of 2007/09: A Comparison

Felix Noth Lena Tonzer

in: Applied Economics Letters , No. 7, 2017


The global financial crisis has again shown that it is important to understand the emergence and measurement of risks in the banking sector. However, there is no consensus in the literature which risk proxy works best at the level of the individual bank. A commonly used measure in applied work is the Z-score, which might suffer from calculation issues given poor data quality. Motivated by the variety of bank risk proxies, our analysis reveals that nonperforming assets are a well-suited complement to the Z-score in studies of bank risk.

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Working Papers


Delay Determinants of European Banking Union Implementation

Michael Koetter Thomas Krause Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 24, 2017


To safeguard financial stability and harmonise regulation, the European Commission substantially reformed banking supervision, resolution, and deposit insurance via EU directives. But most countries delay the transposition of these directives. We ask if transposition delays result from strategic considerations of governments conditional on the state of their financial, regulatory, and political systems? Supervisors might try to protect national banking systems and local politicians maybe reluctant to surrender national sovereignty to deal with failed banks. Alternatively, intricate financial regulation might require more implementation time in large and complex financial and political systems. We therefore collect data on the transposition delays of the three Banking Union directives and investigate observed delay variation across member states. Our correlation analyses suggest that existing regulatory and institutional frameworks, rather than banking market structure or political factors, matter for transposition delays.

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Macroprudential Policy and Intra-group Dynamics: The Effects of Reserve Requirements in Brazil

Chris Becker Matias Ossandon Busch Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 21, 2017


This paper examines whether intra-group dynamics matter for the transmission of macroprudential policy. Using novel bank-level data on the Brazilian banking system, we investigate the effect of reserve requirements targeting headquarter banks’ deposit share on credit supply by their municipal bank branches. For identification purposes, we exploit that reserve requirements are adjusted following global economic cycles. Our results reveal a lending channel of reserve requirements for branches whose parent banks are more exposed to targeted deposits. Branch ownership and exposure to internal liquidity are central in explaining the results. Our findings reveal limitations in current macroprudential policy frameworks.

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Do Conventional Monetary Policy Instruments Matter in Unconventional Times?

Manuel Buchholz Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 12, 2017


This paper investigates how declines in the deposit facility rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB) affect bank behavior. The ECB aims to reduce banks’ incentives to hold reserves at the central bank and thus to encourage loan supply. However, given depressed margins in a low interest environment, banks might reallocate their liquidity toward more profitable liquid assets other than traditional loans. Our analysis is based on a sample of euro area banks for the period from 2009 to 2014. Three key findings arise. First, banks reduce their reserve holdings following declines in the deposit facility rate. Second, this effect is heterogeneous across banks depending on their business model. Banks with a more interest-sensitive business model are more responsive to changes in the deposit facility rate. Third, there is evidence of a reallocation of liquidity toward loans but not toward other liquid assets. This result is most pronounced for non-GIIPS countries of the euro area.

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