Financial Markets

Research in this department centres on institutional changes in Europe’s financial markets. The department analyses the causes and consequences of banks’ international expansions, the link between market structures in banking and aggregate (financial) stability, contagion effects on international financial markets and the role of the financial system for the real economy.

The interdependence of the financial services sector with innovation and productivity in the real economy are of particular interest. Methodologically, research focuses on empirical methods that support analyses of feedback from the micro to the macro level and that allow for causal evaluations of regulatory interventions into financial systems.

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Professor Michael Koetter, PhD
Professor Michael Koetter, PhD
Leiter - Department Financial Markets
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Refereed Publications


Financial Incentives and Loan Officer Behavior: Multitasking and Allocation of Effort under an Incomplete Contract

P. Behr A. H. Drexler Reint E. Gropp Andre Guettler

in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming


In this paper we investigate the implications of providing loan officers with a compensation structure that rewards loan volume and penalizes poor performance versus a fixed wage unrelated to performance. We study detailed transaction information for more than 45,000 loans issued by 240 loan officers of a large commercial bank in Europe. We examine the three main activities that loan officers perform: monitoring, originating, and screening. We find that when the performance of their portfolio deteriorates, loan officers increase their effort to monitor existing borrowers, reduce loan origination, and approve a higher fraction of loan applications. These loans, however, are of above-average quality. Consistent with the theoretical literature on multitasking in incomplete contracts, we show that loan officers neglect activities that are not directly rewarded under the contract, but are in the interest of the bank. In addition, while the response by loan officers constitutes a rational response to a time allocation problem, their reaction to incentives appears myopic in other dimensions.

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Shareholder Bargaining Power and the Emergence of Empty Creditors

Stefano Colonnello M. Efing F. Zucchi

in: Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming


Credit default swaps (CDSs) can create empty creditors who may push borrowers into inefficient bankruptcy but also reduce shareholders' incentives to default strategically. We show theoretically and empirically that the presence and the effects of empty creditors on firm outcomes depend on the distribution of bargaining power among claimholders. Firms are more likely to have empty creditors if these would face powerful shareholders in debt renegotiation. The empirical evidence confirms that more CDS insurance is written on firms with strong shareholders and that CDSs increase the bankruptcy risk of these same firms. The ensuing effect on firm value is negative.

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The Economic Impact of Changes in Local Bank Presence

Iftekhar Hasan Krzysztof Jackowicz Oskar Kowalewski Łukasz Kozłowski

in: Regional Studies, forthcoming


This study analyzes the economic consequences of changes in the local bank presence. Using a unique data set of banks, firms and counties in Poland over the period 2009–14, it is shown that changes strengthening the relationship banking model are associated with local labour market improvements and easier small and medium-sized enterprise access to bank debt. However, only the appearance of new, more aggressive owners of large commercial banks stimulates new firm creation.

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Delay Determinants of European Banking Union Implementation

Michael Koetter Thomas Krause Lena Tonzer

in: European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming


Most countries in the European Union (EU) delay the transposition of European Commission (EC) directives, which aim at reforming banking supervision, resolution, and deposit insurance. We compile a systematic overview of these delays to investigate if they result from strategic considerations of governments conditional on the state of their financial, regulatory, and political systems. Transposition delays pertaining to the three Banking Union directives differ considerably across the 28 EU members. Bivariate regression analyses suggest that existing national bank regulation and supervision drive delays the most. Political factors are less relevant. These results are qualitatively insensitive to alternative estimation methods and lag structures. Multivariate analyses highlight that well-stocked deposit insurance schemes speed-up the implementation of capital requirements, banking systems with many banks are slower in implementing new bank rescue and resolution rules, and countries with a more intensive sovereign-bank nexus delay the harmonization of EU deposit insurance more.

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Badly Hurt? Natural Disasters and Direct Firm Effects

Felix Noth Oliver Rehbein

in: Finance Research Letters, forthcoming


We investigate firm outcomes after a major flood in Germany in 2013. We robustly find that firms located in the disaster regions have significantly higher turnover, lower leverage, and higher cash in the period after 2013. We provide evidence that the effects stem from firms that already experienced a similar major disaster in 2002. Overall, our results document a positive net effect on firm performance in the direct aftermath of a natural disaster.

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Working Papers


Benign Neglect of Covenant Violations: Blissful Banking or Ignorant Monitoring?

Stefano Colonnello Michael Koetter Moritz Stieglitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2019


Theoretically, bank‘s loan monitoring activity hinges critically on its capitalisation. To proxy for monitoring intensity, we use changes in borrowers‘ investment following loan covenant violations, when creditors can intervene in the governance of the firm. Exploiting granular bank-firm relationships observed in the syndicated loan market, we document substantial heterogeneity in monitoring across banks and through time. Better capitalised banks are more lenient monitors that intervene less with covenant violators. Importantly, this hands-off approach is associated with improved borrowers‘ performance. Beyond enhancing financial resilience, regulation that requires banks to hold more capital may thus also mitigate the tightening of credit terms when firms experience shocks.

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Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area and its Drivers

Hannes Böhm Stefan Eichler

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2018


We isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel within the eurozone’s sovereign-bank-loop by exploiting the global, non-eurozone related variation in stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove any eurozone crisis-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress, while economically relevant, is significantly smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on reverse causality and omitted variables in previous studies. Furthermore, we show that the spillover of bank distress is significantly stronger for countries with poorer macroeconomic performances, weaker financial sectors and financial regulation and during times of elevated political uncertainty.

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Housing Consumption and Macroprudential Policies in Europe: An Ex Ante Evaluation

Qizhou Xiong Antonios Mavropoulos

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 17, 2018


In this paper, we use the panel of the first two waves of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey by the European Central Bank to study housing demand of European households and evaluate potential housing market regulations in the post-crisis era. We provide a comprehensive account of the housing decisions of European households between 2010 and 2014, and structurally estimate the housing preference of a simple life-cycle housing choice model. We then evaluate the effect of a tighter LTV/LTI regulation via counter-factual simulations. We find that those regulations limit homeownership and wealth accumulation, reduces housing consumption but may be welfare improving for the young households.

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Interactions Between Regulatory and Corporate Taxes: How Is Bank Leverage Affected?

F. Bremus Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 16, 2018


Regulatory bank levies set incentives for banks to reduce leverage. At the same time, corporate income taxation makes funding through debt more attractive. In this paper, we explore how regulatory levies affect bank capital structure, depending on corporate income taxation. Based on bank balance sheet data from 2006 to 2014 for a panel of EU-banks, our analysis yields three main results: The introduction of bank levies leads to lower leverage as liabilities become more expensive. This effect is weaker the more elevated corporate income taxes are. In countries charging very high corporate income taxes, the incentives of bank levies to reduce leverage turn ineffective. Thus, bank levies can counteract the debt bias of taxation only partially.

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Basel III Capital Requirements and Heterogeneous Banks

Carola Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2018


I develop a theoretical model to investigate the effect of simultaneous regulation with a leverage ratio and a risk-weighted ratio on banks‘ risk taking and banking market structure. I extend a portfolio choice model by adding heterogeneity in productivity among banks. Regulators face a trade-off between the efficient allocation of resources and financial stability. In an oligopolistic market, risk-weighted requirements incentivise banks with high productivity to lend to low-risk firms. When a leverage ratio is introduced, these banks lose market shares to less productive competitors and react with risk-shifting into high-risk loans. While average productivity in the low-risk market falls, market shares in the high-risk market are dispersed across new entrants with high as well as low productivity.

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