The Disciplining Effect of Supervisory Scrutiny in the EU-wide Stress Test
Relying on confidential supervisory data related to the 2016 EU-wide stress test, this paper presents novel empirical evidence that supervisory scrutiny associated to stress testing has a disciplining effect on bank risk. We find that banks that participated in the 2016 EU-wide stress test subsequently reduced their credit risk relative to banks that were not part of this exercise. Relying on new metrics for supervisory scrutiny that measure the quantity, potential impact, and duration of interactions between banks and supervisors during the stress test, we find that the disciplining effect is stronger for banks subject to more intrusive supervisory scrutiny during the exercise. We also find that a strong risk management culture is a prerequisite for the supervisory scrutiny to be effective. Finally, we show that a similar disciplining effect is not exerted neither by higher capital charges nor by more transparency and related market discipline induced by the stress test.