Regulation of International Financial Markets and International Banking

This research group analyses causes and consequences of banks' international activities and the regulatory framework they operate in.

Internationally active banks can facilitate an efficient international allocation of capital and provide channels for international risk sharing. But they can also be a source of financial instabilities themselves, thus contributing to international contagion and risk-shifting. This is one reason for the current re-regulation of international banking.

The research group contributes to the literature in three ways. First, the group empirically analyses the channels through which shocks are transmitted by internationally active banks. Second, the group analyses the build-up of aggregate imbalances in integrated banking markets and resulting consequences for the real economy. Third, the group analyses the impact of changes in banking supervision and regulation on (inter)national activities of banks, with a special focus on the European integration process.


IWH Data Project: International Banking Library

Research Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

Your contact

Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
Send Message +49 345 7753-835 Personal page


07.2017 ‐ 12.2022

The Political Economy of the European Banking Union

European Social Fund (ESF)

Causes of national differences in the implementation of the Banking Union and the resulting impact on financial stability.

Professor Dr Lena Tonzer

01.2015 ‐ 12.2017

Dynamic Interactions between Banks and the Real Economy

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Felix Noth

Refereed Publications


Lending Effects of the ECB’s Asset Purchases

Michael Koetter

in: Journal of Monetary Economics, December 2020


Between 2010 and 2012, the European Central Bank absorbed €218 billion worth of government securities from five EMU countries under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). Detailed security holdings data at the bank level affirms an effective lending stimulus due to the SMP. Exposed banks contract household lending, but increase commercial lending substantially. Holding non-SMP securities from stressed EMU countries amplifies the commercial lending response. The SMP also improved liquidity buffers and profitability without compromising credit quality.

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Finance and Wealth Inequality

Iftekhar Hasan Roman Horvath Jan Mares

in: Journal of International Money and Finance, November 2020

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Do Conventional Monetary Policy Instruments Matter in Unconventional Times?

Manuel Buchholz Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, No. 105874, September 2020


This paper investigates how declines in the deposit facility rate set by the ECB affect euro area banks’ incentives to hold reserves at the central bank. We find that, in the face of lower deposit rates, banks with a more interest-sensitive business model are more likely to reduce reserve holdings and allocate freed-up liquidity to loans. The result is driven by banks in the non-GIIPS countries of the euro area. This reveals that conventional monetary policy instruments have limited effects in restoring monetary policy transmission during times of crisis.

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Interactions Between Bank Levies and Corporate Taxes: How is Bank Leverage Affected?

F. Bremus Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, No. 105874, September 2020


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 insignificant. Thus, bank levies can counteract the debt bias of taxation only partially.

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

Patrick Behr Alejandro H. Drexler Reint E. Gropp Andre Guettler

in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, No. 4, 2020


We investigate the implications of providing loan officers with a nonlinear compensation structure that rewards loan volume and penalizes poor performance. Using a unique data set provided by a large international commercial bank, we examine the main activities that loan officers perform: loan prospecting, screening, and monitoring. We find that when loan officers are at risk of losing their bonuses, they increase prospecting and monitoring. We further show that loan officers adjust their behavior more toward the end of the month when bonus payments are approaching. These effects are more pronounced for loan officers with longer tenures at the bank.

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Working Papers

Inside Asset Purchase Programs: The Effects of Unconventional Policy on Banking Competition

Michael Koetter Natalia Podlich Michael Wedow

in: ECB Working Paper Series, No. 2017, 2017


We test if unconventional monetary policy instruments influence the competitive conduct of banks. Between q2:2010 and q1:2012, the ECB absorbed Euro 218 billion worth of government securities from five EMU countries under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). Using detailed security holdings data at the bank level, we show that banks exposed to this unexpected (loose) policy shock mildly gained local loan and deposit market shares. Shifts in market shares are driven by banks that increased SMP security holdings during the lifetime of the program and that hold the largest relative SMP portfolio shares. Holding other securities from periphery countries that were not part of the SMP amplifies the positive market share responses. Monopolistic rents approximated by Lerner indices are lower for SMP banks, suggesting a role of the SMP to re-distribute market power differentially, but not necessarily banking profits.

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Uncertainty, Financial Crises, and Subjective Well-being

Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2017


This paper focuses on the effect of uncertainty as reflected by financial market variables on subjective well-being. The analysis is based on Eurobarometer surveys, covering 20 countries over the period from 2000 to 2013. Individuals report lower levels of life satisfaction in times of higher uncertainty approximated by stock market volatility. This effect is heterogeneous across respondents: The probability of being unsatisfied is higher for respondents who are older, less educated, and live in one of the GIIPS countries of the euro area. Furthermore, higher uncertainty in combination with a financial crisis increases the probability of reporting low values of life satisfaction.

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To Separate or not to Separate Investment from Commercial Banking? An Empirical Analysis of Attention Distortion under Multiple Tasks

Reint E. Gropp K. Park

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2016


In the wake of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, a number of policy reports (Vickers, Liikanen, Volcker) proposed to separate investment banking from commercial banking to increase financial stability. This paper empirically examines one theoretical justification for these proposals, namely attention distortion under multiple tasks as in Holmstrom and Milgrom (1991). Universal banks can be viewed as combining two different tasks (investment banking and commercial banking) in the same organization. We estimate pay-performance sensitivities for different segments within universal banks and for pure investment and commercial banks. We show that the pay-performance sensitivity is higher in investment banking than in commercial banking, no matter whether it is organized as part of a universal bank or in a separate institution. Next, the paper shows that relative pay-performance sensitivities of investment and commercial banking are negatively related to the quality of the loan portfolio in universal banks. Depending on the specification, we obtain a reduction in problem loans when investment banking is removed from commercial banks of up to 12 percent. We interpret the evidence to imply that the higher pay-performance sensitivity in investment banking directs the attention of managers away from commercial banking within universal banks, consistent with Holmstrom and Milgrom (1991). Separation of investment banking and commercial banking may indeed be associated with a reduction in risk in commercial banking.

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Friend or Foe? Crowdfunding Versus Credit when Banks are Stressed

Daniel Blaseg Michael Koetter

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2015


Does bank instability push borrowers to use crowdfunding as a source of external finance? We identify stressed banks and link them to a unique, manually constructed sample of 157 new ventures seeking equity crowdfunding. The sample comprises projects from all German equity crowdfunding platforms since 2011, which we compare with 200 ventures that do not use crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is significantly more likely for new ventures that interact with stressed banks. Innovative funding is thus particularly relevant when conventional financiers are facing crises. But crowdfunded ventures are generally also more opaque and risky than new ventures that do not use crowdfunding.

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