Political Cycles in Bank Lending to the Government
Review of Financial Studies,
We study how political party turnover after German state elections affects banks’ lending to the regional government. We find that between 1992 and 2018, party turnover at the state level leads to a sharp and substantial increase in lending by local savings banks to their home-state government. This effect is accompanied by an equivalent reduction in private lending. A statistical association between political party turnover and government lending is absent for comparable cooperative banks that exhibit a similar regional organization and business model. Our results suggest that political frictions may interfere with government-owned banks’ local development objectives.
Mortgage Companies and Regulatory Arbitrage
Journal of Financial Economics,
Mortgage companies (MCs) do not fall under the strict regulatory regime of depository institutions. We empirically show that this gap resulted in regulatory arbitrage and allowed bank holding companies (BHCs) to circumvent consumer compliance regulations, mitigate capital requirements, and reduce exposure to loan-related losses. Compared to bank subsidiaries, MC subsidiaries of BHCs originated riskier mortgages to borrowers with lower credit scores, lower incomes, higher loan-to-income ratios, and higher default rates. Our results imply that precrisis regulations had the capacity to mitigate the deterioration of lending standards if consistently applied and enforced for all types of intermediaries.