Assessing the Effects of Regulatory Bank Levies
VOX CEPR's Policy Portal,
In response to the Global Crisis, governments have implemented restructuring and resolution regimes backed by funds financed by bank levies. Bank levies aim to internalise system risk externalities and to provide funding for bank recovery and resolution. This column explores bank levy design by considering the German and European cases. The discussion points to the importance of structured policy evaluations to determine the effects of levies.
State Aid and Guarantees in Europe
T. Beck, B. Casu (eds): The Palgrave Handbook of European Banking, London,
During the recent financial crisis, governments massively intervened in the banking sector by providing liquidity assistance and capital support to banks in distress. This helped stabilize the financial system in the short run. However, public bailouts also bear the risk of longer-term distortions, for example, by affecting bailout expectations of banks. In this chapter, the authors first provide an overview of state aid interventions during the recent crisis episode. The third section then analyzes the effects of state aid on financial stability from a theoretical view. This is followed by the description of results obtained from empirical studies. The link between the provision of state aid and politics is discussed in the section “Institutional Design and Policy Implications”. Finally, in the section “The European Banking Union” the authors describe the elements of the European Banking Union meant to resolve and restructure banks in distress and to lower the need for public intervention. Based on the preceding analysis, conclusions are drawn regarding the new design.
Banks and Sovereign Risk: A Granular View
Bundesbank Discussion Paper,
In this paper, we use detailed data on the sovereign debt holdings of all German banks to analyse the determinants of sovereign debt exposures and the implications of sovereign exposures for bank risk. Our main findings are as follows. First, sovereign bond holdings are heterogeneous across banks. Larger, weakly capitalised banks and banks with a small depositor base hold more sovereign bonds. Around 31% of all German banks hold no sovereign bonds at all. Second, the sensitivity of banks to macroeconomic factors increased significantly in the post-Lehman period. Banks hold more bonds from euro area countries, from low-inflation countries, and from countries with high sovereign bond yields. Third, there has been no marked impact of sovereign bond holdings on bank risk. This result could indicate the widespread absence of marking-to-market for sovereign bond holdings at the onset of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
Competition, Risk-shifting, and Public Bail-out Policies
Review of Financial Studies,
This article empirically investigates the competitive effects of government bail-out policies. We construct a measure of bail-out perceptions by using rating information. From there, we construct the market shares of insured competitor banks for any given bank, and analyze the impact of this variable on banks' risk-taking behavior, using a large sample of banks from OECD countries. Our results suggest that government guarantees strongly increase the risk-taking of competitor banks. In contrast, there is no evidence that public guarantees increase the protected banks' risk-taking, except for banks that have outright public ownership. These results have important implications for the effects of the recent wave of bank bail-outs on banks' risk-taking behavior.
In Search for Yield? New Survey-Based Evidence on Bank Risk Taking
CESifo Working Paper No. 3375,
There is growing consensus that the conduct of monetary policy can have an impact on financial and economic stability through the risk-taking incentives of banks. Falling interest rates might induce a “search for yield” and generate incentives to invest into risky activities. This paper provides evidence on the link between monetary policy and commercial property prices and the risk-taking incentives of banks. We use a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) for the U.S. for the years 1997-2008. We include standard macroeconomic indicators and factors summarizing information provided in the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Terms of Business Lending. These data allow modeling the reactions of banks’ new lending volumes and the riskiness of new loans. We do not find evidence for a risk-taking channel for the entire banking system after a monetary policy loosening or an unexpected increase in property prices. This masks, however, important differences across banking groups. Small domestic banks increase their exposure to risk, foreign banks lower risk, and large domestic banks do not change their risk exposure.
Cross-border Exposures and Financial Contagion
International Review of Finance,
Integrated financial markets provide opportunities for expansion and improved risk sharing, but also pose threats of contagion risk through cross-border exposures. This paper examines cross-border contagion risk over the period 1999–2006. To that purpose we use aggregate cross-border exposures of 17 countries as reported in the Bank for International Settlements Consolidated Banking Statistics. We find that a shock that affects the liabilities of one country may undermine the stability of the entire financial system. Particularly, a shock wiping out 25% (35%) of US (UK) cross-border liabilities against non-US (non-UK) banks could lead to bank contagion eroding at least 94% (45%) of the recipient countries' banking assets. We also find that since 2006 a shock to Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia affects most countries. Our simulations also reveal that the ‘speed of propagation of contagion’ has increased in recent years resulting in a higher number of directly exposed banking systems. Finally, we find that contagion is more widespread in geographical proximities.
International Banking and the Allocation of Risk
IAW Discussion Paper No. 32,
Macroeconomic risks could magnify individual bank risk. Mitigating the influence of economy-wide risks on banks could therefore be very important to maintain a smooth-running banking system. In this paper, we explore the extent to which macroeconomic risks affect banks. We use a bank-level dataset on over 2,000 banks worldwide for the years 1995-2002 to study the effect of macroeconomic volatility, the openness of the banking system, and banking regulations on bank risks. Our measure of bank risk is the volatility of banks' pre-tax profits. We find that macroeconomic volatility increases banks' profit volatility and that international openness of the banking system lowers bank risk. We find no impact of banking regulation on profit volatility. Our findings suggest that if policymakers want to lower bank risk, they should seek to lower macroeconomic volatility as well as increase openness in the banking system.
Deposit Insurance, Moral Hazard and Market Monitoring
Review of Finance,
The paper analyses the relationship between deposit insurance, debt-holder monitoring, and risk taking. In a stylised banking model we show that deposit insurance may reduce moral hazard, if deposit insurance credibly leaves out non-deposit creditors. Testing the model using EU bank level data yields evidence consistent with the model, suggesting that explicit deposit insurance may serve as a commitment device to limit the safety net and permit monitoring by uninsured subordinated debt holders. We further find that credible limits to the safety net reduce risk taking of smaller banks with low charter values and sizeable subordinated debt shares only. However, we also find that the introduction of explicit deposit insurance tends to increase the share of insured deposits in banks' liabilities.