Banking crises tend to happen in ‘waves’ across countries. In examining why this occurs, this column shows how foreign financial developments in general, and global credit growth in particular, are powerful predictors of domestic banking crises. The channels seem to be financial rather than related to trade, and include transmission of market sentiment, cross-border portfolio flows, and direct crisis contagion.
Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi, Fernando Eguren Martin, Gregory Thwaites, 23 February 2017
Sven Langedijk, Gaëtan Nicodème, Andrea Pagano, Alessandro Rossi, 04 July 2015
Strengthening the banking sector through higher equity capital is one of the key elements of policies aiming to reduce the probability of crises. However, the ‘corporate debt bias’ – the tendency of corporate tax systems to favour debt over equity – is at odds with this objective. This column estimates the benefits for financial stability of eliminating the corporate debt bias. Fully removing the debt bias is estimated to reduce potential public finance losses by between 25 and 55% for the six large EU countries sampled.
Irina Balteanu, Aitor Erce, 12 November 2014
The feedback loop between banking crises and sovereign debt crises has been at the heart of recent problems in the Eurozone. This column presents stylised facts on the mechanisms through which banking and sovereign crises combine and become ‘twin’ crises. The results point to systematic differences not only between ‘single’ and ‘twin’ crises, but also between different types of ‘twin’ episodes. The timing of ‘twin’ crises – which crisis comes first – is important for understanding their drivers, transmission channels, and economic consequences.
Stijn Claessens, 18 April 2014
Stijn Claessens talks to Viv Davies about the recent IMF book titled 'Global Crises: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses', co-edited with M Ayhan Kose, Luc Laeven, and Fabian Valencia. The book provides a comprehensive overview of current research into financial crises and the policy lessons learned. They discuss crisis prevention and management, and the crisis in the Eurozone. The interview was recorded in April 2014.
Thorsten Beck, Christoph Trebesch, 18 November 2013
Many Eurozone banks are still in a fragile state following the Global Crisis. This vulnerability will be highlighted as the ECB takes charge of bank supervision, and the EZ moves towards a banking union. This column proposes a Eurozone bank restructuring agency as a way to speed up the crisis resolution. This temporary, centralised agency would be in charge of restructuring viable and non-viable banks throughout the Eurozone. Solving the problem of legacy assets is a necessary step towards a banking union.
Luca Papi, Andrea Presbitero, Alberto Zazzaro, 25 February 2013
The IMF’s role in past systemic banking crises has been hotly debated. Indeed, prominent intellectuals have criticised the Fund for creating or exacerbating crises. This column discusses new evidence showing that IMF lending programmes are in fact associated with a lower probability of banking crises occurring in future.
Xavier Freixas, 01 September 2012
Before 2007, the widely accepted view was that systemic banks had to be bailed out no matter what. This column argues that views are changing – and for the better.
Evangelos Benos, Rod Garratt, Peter Zimmerman, 07 August 2012
How does a major credit event such as the failure of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008 influence the way banks send and receive payments to and from one another? And what are the associated risks and costs?
Luc Laeven, Fabian Valencia, 09 July 2012
Do advanced economies have an edge in resolving financial crises? This column shows that the record thus far supports the opposite view, with the average crisis lasting about twice as long as in developing and emerging market economies. It argues that macroeconomic stabilisation policies in advanced countries often delay the necessary financial restructuring.
Carmen Reinhart, 09 April 2010
Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the sequencing of the cycle of debt build-ups – from private debt surges to banking crises to sovereign debt crises – and the four ‘deadly D’s’ that once again threaten many governments as a consequence of the current crisis – deficits, debt, downgrade and default. The interview was recorded at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference at the University of Surrey in March 2010.
Richard Baldwin, 04 November 2009
Policymakers and macroeconomists often remind us that banking crises are nothing new. This column, based on recent papers by Columbia professor Charles Calomiris, looks at the long-term record of banking crises and draws lessons for today.
Luis Jácome HG., 20 October 2009
Latin American central banks seem to have weathered the global crisis quite well. This column describes their policy responses and says they succeeded in lowering inflation, averting banking crises, and shortening the recession. It attributes their success to past reforms that created strong institutional foundations and effective policy frameworks.
Harald Uhlig, 15 October 2009
The recent crisis was like a bank run, but it didn’t quite fit. This column describes six features that a model of the recent crisis ought to capture and describes a new theory with which we might analyse the crisis and policy responses.
Leonardo Iacovone, Veronika Zavacka, 01 September 2009
Both financial turmoil and falling demand have hit exporters hard. This column confirms the importance of financing problems by showing that sectors relatively more dependent on external finance suffer larger export drops during banking crises.
Carmen Reinhart, 26 January 2009
Financial crises are historically associated with the “4 deadly D’s”: Sharp economic downturns follow banking crises; with government revenues dragged down, fiscal deficits worsen; deficits lead to debt; as debt piles up rating downgrades follow. For the most fortunate countries, the crisis does not lead to the deadliest D: default, but for many it has.
Luis Jácome HG., 03 January 2009
As the global economic crisis goes south, developing countries' central banks must cope with financial turmoil. Recent experience in Latin America, this column argues, cautions against pouring money into the financial system. Countries that relied on prompt corrective actions managed crises well, while those relying on central bank money suffered greater instability.
Carmen Reinhart, 15 March 2008
We may just have started to feel the pain. Asset price drops – including housing – are common markers in all the big banking crises over the past 30 years. GDP declines after such crises were both large (-2% on average) and protracted (2 years to return to trend); in the 5 biggest crises, the numbers were -5% and 3 years. This column, based on the author’s testimony to the Congress, picks through the causes and consequences. It argues that when it comes to ‘cures,’ it would be far better to get the job done right than get the job done quickly.