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 ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
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.
01.2015 ‐ 12.2017
Dynamic Interactions between Banks and the Real Economy
German Research Foundation (DFG)
Lend Global, Fund Local? Price and Funding Cost Margins in Multinational Banking
in: Review of Finance, No. 5, 2016
In a proposed model of a multinational bank, interest margins determine local lending by foreign affiliates and the internal funding by parent banks. We exploit detailed parent-affiliate-level data of all German banks to empirically test our theoretical predictions in pre-crisis times. Local lending by affiliates depends negatively on price margins, the difference between lending and deposit rates in foreign markets. The effect of funding cost margins, the gap between local deposit rates faced by affiliates abroad and the funding costs of their parents, on internal capital market funding is positive but statistically weak. Interest margins are central to explain the interaction between internal capital markets and foreign affiliates lending.
Uncertainty, Bank Lending, and Bank-level Heterogeneity
in: IMF Economic Review, No. 4, 2015
We analyze how uncertainty affects bank lending. We measure uncertainty as the cross-sectional dispersion of shocks to bank-level variables. Comparing this measure of uncertainty in banking to more traditional measures of uncertainty, we find similar but no identical patterns. Higher uncertainty in banking has negative effects on bank lending. This effect is heterogeneous across banks: lending by banks that are better capitalized and have higher liquidity buffers tends to be affected less. Also, the degree of internationalization matters, as loan supply by banks in financially open countries is affected less by uncertainty. The impact of the ownership status of the individual bank is less important, in contrast.
Cross-border Interbank Networks, Banking Risk and Contagion
in: Journal of Financial Stability, 2015
Recent events have highlighted the role of cross-border linkages between banking systems in transmitting local developments across national borders. This paper analyzes whether international linkages in interbank markets affect the stability of interconnected banking systems and channel financial distress within a network consisting of banking systems of the main advanced countries for the period 1994–2012. Methodologically, I use a spatial modeling approach to test for spillovers in cross-border interbank markets. The results suggest that foreign exposures in banking play a significant role in channeling banking risk: I find that countries that are linked through foreign borrowing or lending positions to more stable banking systems abroad are significantly affected by positive spillover effects. From a policy point of view, this implies that in stable times, linkages in the banking system can be beneficial, while they have to be taken with caution in times of financial turmoil affecting the whole system.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? Bank Productivity and Internationalization Decisions
in: Journal of Banking and Finance, No. 42, 2014
Differences in firm-level productivity explain international activities of non-financial firms quite well. We test whether differences in bank productivity determine international activities of banks. Based on a dataset that allows tracking banks across countries and across different modes of foreign entry, we model the ordered probability of maintaining a commercial presence abroad and the volume of banks’ international assets empirically. Our research has three main findings. First, more productive banks are more likely to enter foreign markets in increasingly complex modes. Second, more productive banks also hold larger volumes of foreign assets. Third, higher risk aversion renders entry less likely, but it increases the volume of foreign activities conditional upon entry.
The Impact of Public Guarantees on Bank Risk-taking: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
in: Review of Finance, No. 2, 2014
In 2001, government guarantees for savings banks in Germany were removed following a lawsuit. We use this natural experiment to examine the effect of government guarantees on bank risk-taking. The results suggest that banks whose government guarantee was removed reduced credit risk by cutting off the riskiest borrowers from credit. Using a difference-in-differences approach we show that none of these effects are present in a control group of German banks to whom the guarantee was not applicable. Furthermore, savings banks adjusted their liabilities away from risk-sensitive debt instruments after the removal of the guarantee, while we do not observe this for the control group. We also document that yield spreads of savings banks’ bonds increased significantly right after the announcement of the decision to remove guarantees, while the yield spread of a sample of bonds issued by the control group remained unchanged. The evidence implies that public guarantees may be associated with substantial moral hazard effects.
Explaining Regional Disparities in Housing Prices Across German Districts
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2022
Over the last decade, German housing prices have increased unprecedentedly. Drawing on quality-adjusted housing price data at the district level, we document large and increasing regional disparities: Growth rates were higher in 1) the largest seven cities, 2) districts located in the south, and 3) districts with higher initial price levels. Indications of price bubbles are concentrated in the largest cities and in the purchasing market. Prices seem to be driven by the demand side: Increasing population density, higher shares of academically educated employees and increasing purchasing power explain our findings, while supply remained relatively constrained in the short term.
Stress-ridden Finance and Growth Losses: Does Financial Development Break the Link?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2022
Does financial development shield countries from the pass-through of financial shocks to real outcomes? We evaluate this question by characterising the probability density of expected GDP growth conditional on financial stability indicators in a panel of 28 countries. Our robust results unveil a non-linear nexus between financial stability and expected GDP growth, depending on countries’ degree of financial development. While both domestic and global financial factors affect expected growth, the effect of global factors is moderated by financial development. This result highlights a previously unexplored channel trough which financial development can break the link between financial (in)stability and GDP growth.
Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2022
We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.
Completing the European Banking Union: Capital Cost Consequences for Credit Providers and Corporate Borrowers
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2021
The bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) regulates the bail-in hierarchy to resolve distressed banks without burdening tax payers. We exploit the staggered implementation of the BRRD across 15 European Union (EU) member states to identify banks’ capital cost and capital structure responses. In a first stage, we show that average capital costs of banks increased. WACC hikes are lowest in the core countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) compared to formerly stressed EMU and non-EMU countries. This pattern is driven by changes in the relative WACC weight of equity in response to the BRRD, which indicates enhanced financial system resilience. In a second stage, we document asymmetric transmission patterns of banks’ capital cost changes on to corporates’ borrowing terms. Only EMU banks located in core countries that exhibit higher WACC are those that also increase firms’ borrowing cost and contract credit supply. Hence, the BRRD had unintended consequences for selected segments of the real economy.
Financial Linkages and Sectoral Business Cycle Synchronisation: Evidence from Europe
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2020
We analyse whether financial integration between countries leads to converging or diverging business cycles using a dynamic spatial model. Our model allows for contemporaneous spillovers of shocks to GDP growth between countries that are financially integrated and delivers a scalar measure of the spillover intensity at each point in time. For a financial network of ten European countries from 1996-2017, we find that the spillover effects are positive on average but much larger during periods of financial stress, pointing towards stronger business cycle synchronisation. Dismantling GDP growth into value added growth of ten major industries, we observe that some sectors are strongly affected by positive spillovers (wholesale & retail trade, industrial production), others only to a weaker degree (agriculture, construction, finance), while more nationally influenced industries show no evidence for significant spillover effects (public administration, arts & entertainment, real estate).