Slippery Slopes of Stress: Ordered Failure Events in German Banking
Outright bank failures without prior indication of financial instability are very rare. In fact, banks can be regarded as troubled to varying degrees before outright closure. But failure studies usually neglect the ordinal nature of bank distress. We distinguish four different kinds of increasingly severe events on the basis of the distress database of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Only the worst distress event entails a bank to exit the market. Since the four categories of hazard functions are not proportional, we specify a generalized ordered logit model to estimate respective probabilities of distress simultaneously. We find that the likelihood of ordered distress events changes differently in response to given changes in the financial profiles of banks. Consequently, bank failure studies should account more explicitly for the different shades of distress. This allows an assessment of the relative importance of financial profile components for different degrees of bank distress.