Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk
IWH Discussion Papers,
We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.
National Politics and Bank Default Risk in the Eurozone
Journal of Financial Stability,
We study the impact of national politics on default risk of eurozone banks as measured by the stock market-based Distance to Default. We find that national electoral cycles, the power of the government as well as the government’s party ideological alignment significantly affect the stability of banks in the eurozone member countries. Moreover, we show that the impact of national politics on bank default risk is more pronounced for large as well as weakly capitalized banks.
Cross-Border Bank Contagion in Europe
International Journal of Central Banking,
We analyze cross-border contagion among European banks in the period from January 1994 to January 2003. We use a multinomial logit model to estimate, in a given country, the number of banks that experience a large shock on the same day (“coexceedances”) as a function of common shocks and lagged coexceedances in other countries. Large shocks are measured by the bottom 95th percentile of the distribution of the daily percentage change in distance to default of banks.We find evidence of significant cross-border contagion among large European banks, which is consistent with a tiered cross-border interbank structure. The results also suggest that contagion increased after the introduction of the euro.
Cross-border Bank Contagion in Europe
ECB Working Paper, No. 662,
This paper analyses cross-border contagion in a sample of European banks from January 1994 to January 2003. We use a multinomial logit model to estimate the number of banks in a given country that experience a large shock on the same day (“coexceedances“) as a function of variables measuring common shocks and lagged coexceedances in other countries. Large shocks are measured by the bottom 95th percentile of the distribution of the daily percentage change in the distance to default of the bank. We find evidence in favour of significant cross-border contagion. We also find some evidence that since the introduction of the euro cross-border contagion may have increased. The results seem to be very robust to changes in the specification.
Equity and Bond Market Signals as Leading Indicators of Bank Fragility
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
We analyse the ability of the distance to default and subordinated bond spreads to signal bank fragility in a sample of EU banks. We find leading properties for both indicators. The distance to default exhibits lead times of 6-18 months. Spreads have signal value close to problems only. We also find that implicit safety nets weaken the predictive power of spreads. Further, the results suggest complementarity between both indicators. We also examine the interaction of the indicators with other information and find that their additional information content may be small but not insignificant. The results suggest that market indicators reduce type II errors relative to predictions based on accounting information only.
Measurement of Contagion in Banks' Equity Prices
Journal of International Money and Finance,
This paper uses the co-incidence of extreme shocks to banks’ risk to examine within-country and across country contagion among large EU banks. Banks’ risk is measured by the first difference of weekly distances to default and abnormal returns. Using Monte Carlo simulations, the paper examines whether the observed frequency of large shocks experienced by two or more banks simultaneously is consistent with the assumption of a multivariate normal or a student t distribution. Further, the paper proposes a simple metric, which is used to identify contagion from one bank to another and identify “systemically important” banks in the EU.