Deleveraging and Consumer Credit Supply in the Wake of the 2008–09 Financial Crisis
International Journal of Central Banking,
We explore the sources of the decline in household nonmortgage debt following the collapse of the housing market in 2006. First, we use data from the Federal Reserve Board's Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey to document that, post-2006, banks tightened consumer lending standards more in counties that experienced a more pronounced house price decline (the pre-2006 "boom" counties). We then use the idea that renters did not experience an adverse wealth or collateral shock when the housing market collapsed to identify a general consumer credit supply shock. Our evidence suggests that a tightening of the supply of non-mortgage credit that was independent of the direct effects of lower housing collateral values played an important role in households' non-mortgage debt reduction. Renters decreased their non-mortgage debt more in boom counties than in non-boom counties, but homeowners did not. We argue that this wedge between renters and homeowners can only have arisen from a general tightening of banks' consumer lending stance. Using an IV approach, we trace this effect back to a reduction in bank capital of banks in boom counties.
15.06.2017 • 26/2017
Ailing banks increase leverage of ailing firms
Euro area countries such as Greece and Spain continue to struggle not only with their banks, but also with highly indebted domestic firms. Michael Koetter from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) and co-authors show the failure to resolve banks’ financial difficulties also prevents debt reduction of over-leveraged firms – and sometimes even contributes to increasing leverage of the weakest firms.
Read press release
Do We Want These Two to Tango? On Zombie Firms and Stressed Banks in Europe
IWH Discussion Papers,
We show that the speed and type of corporate deleveraging depends on the interaction between corporate and financial sector health. Based on granular bank-firm data pertaining to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from five stressed and two non-stressed euro area economies, we show that “zombie” firms generally continued to lever up during the 2010–2014 period. Whereas relationships with stressed banks reduce SME leverage on average, we also show that zombie firms that are tied to weak banks in euro area periphery countries increase their indebtedness even further. Sustainable economic recovery therefore requires both: deleveraging of banks and firms.