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

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. We investigate four proxies for bank risk that are frequently used in the literature. Our analysis shows that non-performing assets are a good proxy for bank risk for two reasons. First, non-performing assets nest the alternative proxies as shown by the high share of variation in non-performing assets explained by the Z-score, loan loss reserves and loan loss provisions. Second, non-performing assets are well-suited to explain bank failures one year ahead. The latter point also holds for the Z-score whereby the information content of the Z-score seems to differ from the other variables. We conclude that non-performing assets are a well-suited complement to the Z-score, which may come with calculation issues regarding the volatility of profitability, in studies of bank risk.

05. September 2015

Authors Felix Noth Lena Tonzer

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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

Abstract

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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