Do Weak Supervisory Systems Encourage Bank Risk-taking?
Journal of Financial Stability,
Weak bank supervision could give banks the ability to shift risk from themselves to supervisors. We use cross-border bank mergers as a natural experiment to test changes in risk and the impact of supervision. We examine cross-border bank mergers and find that the supervisory structures of the partners’ countries influence changes in post-merger total risk. An acquirer from a country with strong supervision lowers total risk after a cross-border merger. However, total risk increases when the target bank is located in a country with relatively strong supervision. This result is consistent with strong host regulators limiting the risky activities of their local banks. Foreign-owned competitors could then engage in the risky projects, especially if the foreign banks’ supervisors are not strong. An acquirer entering a country with strong supervision appears to shift risk back to its home country. The results suggest that bank supervisors can reduce total banking risk in their countries by being strong.
The Impact of Competition on Bank Orientation
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
How do banks react to increased competition? Recent banking theory significantly disagrees regarding the impact of competition on bank orientation—i.e., the choice of relationship-based versus transactional banking. We empirically investigate the impact of interbank competition on bank branch orientation. We employ a unique data set containing detailed information on bank–firm relationships. We find that bank branches facing stiff local competition engage considerably more in relationship-based lending. Our results illustrate that competition and relationships are not necessarily inimical.
Interbank Exposures: An Empirical Examination of Contagion Risk in the Belgian Banking System
International Journal of Central Banking,
Robust (cross-border) interbank markets are important for the proper functioning of modern financial systems. However, a network of interbank exposures may lead to domino effects following the event of an initial bank failure. We investigate the evolution and determinants of contagion risk for the Belgian banking system over the period 1993–2002 using detailed information on aggregate interbank exposures of individual banks, large bilateral interbank exposures, and cross-border interbank exposures. The "structure" of the interbank market affects contagion risk. We find that a change from a complete structure (where all banks have symmetric links) toward a "multiplemoney-center" structure (where money centers are symmetrically linked to otherwise disconnected banks) has decreased the risk and impact of contagion. In addition, an increase in the relative importance of cross-border interbank exposures has lowered local contagion risk. However, this reduction may have been compensated by an increase in contagion risk stemming from foreign banks.
Banks’ Internationalization Strategies: The Role of Bank Capital Regulation
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper studies how capital requirements influence a bank’s mode of entry into foreign financial markets. We develop a model of an internationally operating bank that creates and allocates liquidity across countries and argue that the advantage of multinational banking over offering cross-border financial services depends on the benefit and the cost of intimacy with local markets. The benefit is that it allows to create more liquidity. The cost is that it causes inefficiencies in internal capital markets, on which a multinational bank relies to allocate liquidity across countries. Capital requirements affect this trade-off by influencing the degree of inefficiency in internal capital markets.
The Impact of Technology and Regulation on the Geographical Scope of Banking
Oxford Review of Economic Policy,
We review how technological advances and changes in regulation may shape the (future) geographical scope of banking. We first review how both physical distance and the presence of borders currently affect bank lending conditions (loan pricing and credit availability) and market presence (branching and servicing). Next we discuss how technology and regulation have altered this impact and analyse the current state of the European banking sector. We discuss both theoretical contributions and empirical work and highlight open questions along the way. We draw three main lessons from the current theoretical and empirical literature: (i) bank lending to small businesses in Europe may be characterized both by (local) spatial pricing and resilient (regional and/or national) market segmentation; (ii) because of informational asymmetries in the retail market, bank mergers and acquisitions seem the optimal route of entering another market, long before cross-border servicing or direct entry are economically feasible; and (iii) current technological and regulatory developments may, to a large extent, remain impotent in further dismantling the various residual but mutually reinforcing frictions in the retail banking markets in Europe. We conclude the paper by offering pertinent policy recommendations based on these three lessons.