Towards Deeper Financial Integration in Europe: What the Banking Union Can Contribute
German Council of Economic Experts Working Paper 02/2013,
The agreement to establish a Single Supervisory Mechanism in Europe is a major step towards a Banking Union, consisting of centralized powers for the supervision of banks, the restructuring and resolution of distressed banks, and a common deposit insurance system. In this paper, we argue that the Banking Union is a necessary complement to the common currency and the Internal Market for capital. However, due care needs to be taken that steps towards a Banking Union are taken in the right sequence and that liability and control remain at the same level throughout. The following elements are important. First, establishing a Single Supervisory Mechanism under the roof of the ECB and within the framework of the current EU treaties does not ensure a sufficient degree of independence of supervision and monetary policy. Second, a European institution for the restructuring and resolution of banks should be established and equipped with sufficient powers. Third, a fiscal backstop for bank restructuring is needed. The ESM can play a role but additional fiscal burden sharing agreements are needed. Direct recapitalization of banks through the ESM should not be possible until legacy assets on banks’ balance sheets have been cleaned up. Fourth, introducing European-wide deposit insurance in the current situation would entail the mutualisation of legacy assets, thus contributing to moral hazard.
Competition, Risk-shifting, and Public Bail-out Policies
Review of Financial Studies,
This article empirically investigates the competitive effects of government bail-out policies. We construct a measure of bail-out perceptions by using rating information. From there, we construct the market shares of insured competitor banks for any given bank, and analyze the impact of this variable on banks' risk-taking behavior, using a large sample of banks from OECD countries. Our results suggest that government guarantees strongly increase the risk-taking of competitor banks. In contrast, there is no evidence that public guarantees increase the protected banks' risk-taking, except for banks that have outright public ownership. These results have important implications for the effects of the recent wave of bank bail-outs on banks' risk-taking behavior.
The Determinants of Bank Capital Structure
Review of Finance,
The paper shows that mispriced deposit insurance and capital regulation were of second-order importance in determining the capital structure of large U.S. and European banks during 1991 to 2004. Instead, standard cross-sectional determinants of non-financial firms’ leverage carry over to banks, except for banks whose capital ratio is close to the regulatory minimum. Consistent with a reduced role of deposit insurance, we document a shift in banks’ liability structure away from deposits towards non-deposit liabilities. We find that unobserved time-invariant bank fixed-effects are ultimately the most important determinant of banks’ capital structures and that banks’ leverage converges to bank specific, time-invariant targets.
Deposit Insurance, Moral Hazard and Market Monitoring
Review of Finance,
The paper analyses the relationship between deposit insurance, debt-holder monitoring, and risk taking. In a stylised banking model we show that deposit insurance may reduce moral hazard, if deposit insurance credibly leaves out non-deposit creditors. Testing the model using EU bank level data yields evidence consistent with the model, suggesting that explicit deposit insurance may serve as a commitment device to limit the safety net and permit monitoring by uninsured subordinated debt holders. We further find that credible limits to the safety net reduce risk taking of smaller banks with low charter values and sizeable subordinated debt shares only. However, we also find that the introduction of explicit deposit insurance tends to increase the share of insured deposits in banks' liabilities.