Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-run Panel Evidence from Germany
Higher capital features prominently in proposals for regulatory reform. But how does increased bank capital affect business loans? The real costs of increased bank capital in terms of reduced loans are widely believed to be substantial. But the negative real-sector implications need not be severe. In this paper, we take a long-run perspective by analysing the link between the capitalization of the banking sector and bank loans using panel cointegration models. We study the evolution of the German economy for the past 44 years. Higher bank capital tends to be associated with higher business loan volume, and we find no evidence for a negative effect. This result holds both for pooled regressions as well as for the individual banking groups in Germany.
In Search for Yield? Survey-based Evidence on Bank Risk Taking
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control,
Monetary policy can have an impact on economic and financial stability through the risk taking of banks. Falling interest rates might induce investment into risky activities. This paper provides evidence on the link between monetary policy and bank risk taking. We use a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) for the US for the period 1997–2008. Besides standard macroeconomic indicators, we include factors summarizing information provided in the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Terms of Business Lending (STBL). These data provide information on banks׳ new loans as well as interest rates for different loan risk categories and different banking groups. We identify a risk-taking channel of monetary policy by distinguishing responses to monetary policy shocks across different types of banks and different loan risk categories. Following an expansionary monetary policy shock, small domestic banks increase their exposure to risk. Large domestic banks do not change their risk exposure. Foreign banks take on more risk only in the mid-2000s, when interest rates were ‘too low for too long’.
Financial Constraints of Private Firms and Bank Lending Behavior
Journal of Banking & Finance,
We investigate whether and how financial constraints of private firms depend on bank lending behavior. Bank lending behavior, especially its scale, scope and timing, is largely driven by bank business models which differ between privately owned and state-owned banks. Using a unique dataset on private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) we find that an increase in relative borrowings from local state-owned banks significantly reduces firms’ financial constraints, while there is no such effect for privately owned banks. Improved credit availability and private information production are the main channels that explain our result. We also show that the lending behavior of local state-owned banks can be sustainable because it is less cyclical and neither leads to more risk taking nor underperformance.
Macroeconomic Factors and Micro-Level Bank Risk
Bundesbank Discussion Paper 20/2010,
The interplay between banks and the macroeconomy is of key importance for financial and economic stability. We analyze this link using a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) which extends a standard VAR for the U.S. macroeconomy. The model includes GDP growth, inflation, the Federal Funds rate, house price inflation, and a set of factors summarizing conditions in the banking sector. We use data of more than 1,500 commercial banks from the U.S. call reports to address the following questions. How are macroeconomic shocks transmitted to bank risk and other banking variables? What are the sources of bank heterogeneity, and what explains differences in individual banks’ responses to macroeconomic shocks? Our paper has two main findings: (i) Average bank risk declines, and average bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. (ii) The heterogeneity of banks is characterized by idiosyncratic shocks and the asymmetric transmission of common shocks. Risk of about 1/3 of all banks rises in response to a monetary loosening. The lending response of small, illiquid, and domestic banks is relatively large, and risk of banks with a low degree of capitalization and a high exposure to real estate loans decreases relatively strongly after expansionary monetary policy shocks. Also, lending of larger banks increases less while risk of riskier and domestic banks reacts more in response to house price shocks.
Corporate Boards and Bank Loan Contracting
The Journal of Financial Research,
We investigate the role of corporate boards in bank loan contracting. We find that when corporate boards are more independent, both price and nonprice loan terms (e.g., interest rates, collateral, covenants, and performance-pricing provisions) are more favorable, and syndicated loans comprise more lenders. In addition, board size, audit committee structure, and other board characteristics influence bank loan prices. However, they do not consistently affect all nonprice loan terms except for audit committee independence. Our study provides strong evidence that banks recognize the benefits of board monitoring in mitigating information risk ex ante and controlling agency risk ex post, and they reward higher quality boards with more favorable loan contract terms.
Foreign Bank Entry, Credit Allocation and Lending Rates in Emerging Markets: Empirical Evidence from Poland
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Earlier studies have documented that foreign banks charge lower lending rates and interest spreads than domestic banks. We hypothesize that this may stem from the superior efficiency of foreign entrants that they decide to pass onto borrowers (“performance hypothesis”), but could also reflect a different loan allocation with respect to borrower transparency, loan maturity and currency (“portfolio composition hypothesis”). We are able to differentiate between the above hypotheses thanks to a novel dataset containing detailed bank-specific information for the Polish banking industry. Our findings demonstrate that banks differ significantly in terms of portfolio composition and we attest to the “portfolio composition hypothesis” by showing that, having controlled for portfolio composition, there are no differences in lending rates between banks.
Do Government Owned Banks Trade Market Power for Slack?
The ‘Quiet Life Hypothesis (QLH)’ posits that banks with market power have less incentives to maximize revenues and minimize cost. Especially government owned banks with a public mandate precluding profit maximization might succumb to a quiet life. We use a unified approach that simultaneously measures market power and efficiency to test the quiet life hypothesis of German savings banks. We find that average local market power declined between 1996 and 2006. Cost and profit efficiency remained constant. Nonparametric correlations are consistent with a quiet life regarding cost efficiency but not regarding profit efficiency. The quiet life on the cost side is negatively correlated with bank size, quality of loan portfolio and local per capita income. The last result indicates that the quiet cost life is therefore potentially due to benevolent excess consumption of local input factors by public savings banks.
Crises, rescues, and policy transmission through international banks
Bundesbank Discussion Paper 15/2011,
The World Financial Crisis has shaken the fundamentals of international banking
and triggered a downward spiral of asset prices. To prevent a further meltdown of
markets, governments have intervened massively through rescues measures aimed at recapitalizing banks and through liquidity support. We use a detailed, banklevel dataset for German banks to analyze how the lending and borrowing of their foreign affiliates has responded to domestic (German) and to US crisis support schemes. We analyze how these policy interventions have spilled over into
foreign markets. We identify loan supply shocks by exploiting that not all banks
have received policy support and that the timing of receiving support measures
has differed across banks. We find that banks covered by rescue measures of the
German government have increased their foreign activities after these policy
interventions, but they have not expanded relative to banks not receiving support.
Banks claiming liquidity support under the Term Auction Facility (TAF) program
have withdrawn from foreign markets outside the US, but they have expanded
relative to affiliates of other German banks.