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

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Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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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.

see project's webpage

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


Uncertainty, Bank Lending, and Bank-level Heterogeneity

Claudia M. Buch Manuel Buchholz Lena Tonzer

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.

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Cross-border Interbank Networks, Banking Risk and Contagion

Lena Tonzer

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.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Bank Productivity and Internationalization Decisions

Claudia M. Buch C. T. Koch Michael Koetter

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.

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The Impact of Public Guarantees on Bank Risk-taking: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Reint E. Gropp C. Gruendl Andre Guettler

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.

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Do Banks Benefit from Internationalization? Revisiting the Market Power–Risk Nexus

Claudia M. Buch C. T. Koch Michael Koetter

in: Review of Finance, No. 4, 2013


We analyze the impact of bank internationalization on domestic market power (Lerner index) and risk for German banks. Risk is measured by the official declaration of regulatory authorities that a bank is distressed. We distinguish the volume of foreign assets, the number of foreign countries, and different modes of foreign entry. Our analysis has three main results. First, higher market power is associated with lower risk. Second, holding assets in many countries reduce market power at home, but banks with a higher share of foreign assets exhibit higher market power. Third, bank internationalization is only weakly related to bank risk.

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Working Papers


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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