Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Giacomo Calzolari, Alberto Pozzolo, 22 November 2020

The default of Wirecard highlights several problems in the regulation and supervision of Fintech companies, with regulatory holes in investor protection, customer protection, and financial stability. This column argues that since Fintech companies can be very complex, their oversight requires understanding their business model and combining regulation and supervision based on both entities and activities. The global reach of Fintechs also calls for better coordination at the European level and beyond, but the authors do not see the need for new regulatory body to oversee Fintechs in Europe.

Puriya Abbassi, Falk Bräuning, 31 October 2020

The recent and persistent failure of covered interest parity is inconsistent with the standard view of international finance textbooks. Current thinking relates this violation mostly to supply-side effects. This column argues that demand effects associated with banks’ management of foreign exchange exposure are also an important but are often overlooked driver. This result has implications for the current policy debate concerning global funding and foreign exchange markets, as well as the important role of the US dollar in international finance and banking.

Christoph Basten, Steven Ongena, 15 August 2020

Recently, the debate around potential changes to financial intermediation with the introduction of new technology or FinTech has gained pace. Using data on bank responses to household mortgage applications through a Swiss web platform, this column contributes to the debate by showing how online platforms can allow smaller banks to expand to areas beyond their branch network. It finds enormous potential for web platforms to shake up local lending competition, open up new ways for geographical diversification, and facilitate automation of lending decisions.

Qing Hu, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Mingzhu Tai, 18 July 2020

The financial conditions facing parents can have effects on children’s education outcomes, both in terms of schooling and parental support at home. This column presents evidence from the US, arguing that changes in banking regulation across states can cause changes in the experience of children through a number of channels. These effects are not uniform across household income brackets and can be mitigated when there are other family members such as grandparents that are able to help children with their personal development.

Fabiano Schivardi, Guido Romano, 18 July 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has induced a sharp drop in cash flow for many firms, possibly pushing solvent but illiquid firms into bankruptcy. This column presents a simple method to determine the number of firms that could become illiquid, and when. The authors apply this method to the population of Italian businesses and find that at the peak, around 200,000 companies (employing 3.3 million workers) could become illiquid due to a total liquidity shortfall of €72 billion euros. It is essential that policymakers shelter businesses by acting quickly, especially if there is a ‘second peak’ after the summer.

Thorsten Beck, Robin Döttling, Thomas Lambert, Mathijs van Dijk, 02 July 2020

Banks fulfil several key functions in the economy, from improving the allocation of capital by extending credit to facilitating consumption smoothing through saving and borrowing. The creation of liquidity lies at the centre of much of a bank’s operations. This column provides evidence that banks' liquidity creation is associated with higher economic growth across countries and industries, with important non-linear effects. Results suggest that in the new ‘knowledge economy’ banks will have a more limited role, compared to other types of financial intermediaries and markets.

Elena Carletti, Stijn Claessens, Antonio Fatás, Xavier Vives, 18 June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has induced a deep global economic crisis. While so far banks have shown their resilience, partly thanks to major reforms after the crisis of 2007-2009, the crisis will put them under stress. Moreover, the traditional banking model was already being challenged pre-Covid by three trends: persistently low interest rates, enhanced regulation, and increased competition from shadow banks and digital entrants. This column introduces the second report in the Future of Banking series from the IESE Business School and CEPR, which provides a perspective on how the current crisis and these trends will shape the future of the banking sector.

Çağatay Bircan, Ralph De Haas, Helena Schweiger, Alexander Stepanov, 03 June 2020

As lockdown measures continue, or are relaxed only gradually, many small businesses continue to experience significantly reduced turnover. This column reports on a firm-level analysis across 16 emerging markets, and three Western European comparator countries, in order to gauge the potential risks associated with debt-driven COVID-19 support. The overall goal is to prevent a wave of bankruptcies that could break valuable relationships between firms and their suppliers and employees. However, liquidity support in the form of additional bank lending may create debt-overhang problems in the future and therefore requires careful targeting.

Anil Ari, Sophia Chen, Lev Ratnovski, 30 May 2020

Non-performing loans are a crucial policy consideration, especially in times of wider economic crisis. This article uses a new database covering 88 banking crises since 1990 to draw lessons for post-COVID-19 resolution of non-performing loans.  Compared to the 2008 crisis, the pandemic poses some different challenges. Despite some respite from the credit-crash of 2008, policymakers today are faced with substantially higher public debt, less profitable banks, and often weaker corporate sector conditions, making resolution of non-performing loans even more challenging.

Johannes Bubeck, Angela Maddaloni, José-Luis Peydró, 23 April 2020

The way that banks in the euro area react to negative central bank interest rates may be closely linked to their individual funding structure. This column suggests that they do not generally pass negative rates on to their depositors, and that they search for yield by investing in riskier securities. New evidence suggests that their investments are directed more towards securities issued by the private sector and securities denominated in dollars.

Rodrigo Coelho, Fernando Restoy, Raihan Zamil, 11 April 2020

Regulatory divergence in the banking sector, including differences in how jurisdictions apply Basel III and other regulatory standards, could be a significant source of market fragmentation. Unwarranted divergence in prudential requirements may discourage cross-border activities, international capital flows, and global risk-sharing. This column identifies three main sources of regulatory fragmentation in the post-Basel III era and proposes policy measures to reduce excessive discrepancies in the application of global banking rules. Maintaining trust in banks’ financial health is crucial in periods of economic and financial disruption – such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ozlem Akin, José M. Marín, José-Luis Peydró, 18 March 2020

There is a broad discussion surrounding the excessive risk-taking by banks and whether this constitutes a reliable early warning signal for future banking problems. This column presents evidence that many top executives of US banks sold their own shares in the buildup to the Global Crisis. This trends appears to be stronger for banks with higher real estate exposure, and weaker for independent directors or middle officers. Although the top bankers in riskier banks sold more shares, thus furthering their own interests, they did not reduce bank risk exposure.

Martin Hodula, 16 March 2020

The shadow banking system has become an important source of funding worldwide for the real economy over the last two decades. Europe is no exception, though research on shadow banking there has been relative scarce. This column shows that European shadow banking is highly procyclical, intertwined with insurance corporations and pension funds, and a terminal station for regulatory arbitrage. It also discusses the existence of two main motives that explain the growth of shadow banking, both prior and post-Global Crisis: a funding-cost motive and a search-for-yield motive. 

Iain Begg, David Miles, 10 January 2020

In 2020, the UK and the EU will try to strike a post-Brexit deal in financial services. At the SUERF conference in Amsterdam, David Miles and Iain Begg explain to Tim Phillips what's at stake in the negotiations, and who would suffer most if there's no deal.

Anat Admati, 06 December 2019

Anat Admati discusses what’s needed to get financial regulation that works.

Tara Rice, Kathryn Petralia, 24 September 2019

On 24 September the CEPR launched the latest Geneva Report on the world economy, called Banking disrupted? Financial intermediation in an era of transformational technology. Tim Phillips asks Tara Rice and Kathryn Petralia, two of the authors, whether fintechs and cryptocurrencies signal the beginning of the end for banks.

Kathryn Petralia, Thomas Philippon, Tara Rice, Nicolas Véron, 24 September 2019

FinTech and Big Tech firms are both increasingly stepping on banks’ traditional turf. This column introduces the 22nd Geneva Report on the World Economy, which looks at the challenges generated by new technology-enabled entrants to the global banking industry and the public authorities that oversee it. It argues that to respond adequately to the FinTech/Big Tech challenge, authorities will need to raise their game and enter uncharted territories.

Thorsten Beck, Consuelo Silva-Buston, Wolf Wagner, 04 September 2019

Following the Global Crisis, countries have significantly increased their efforts to cooperate on bank supervision, the prime example being the euro area’s Single Supervisory Mechanism. However, little is known about whether such cooperation helps improve the stability of the financial system. Using panel data for a large sample of cross-border banks, this column examines whether a higher incidence of supervisory cooperation is associated with higher bank stability. It finds that supervisory cooperation is effective, working through asset risk, but not for very large banks, which are the ones that pose the highest risk to financial stability.

Matthew Jaremski, David Wheelock, 15 August 2019

In response to the Global Crisis a decade ago, banks have tried to make themselves more resilient to shocks transmitted through interbank connections. But the opacity of interbank networks makes it difficult to measure the effectiveness of such policies. This column uses evidence from 20th century America to show how the founding of the Federal Reserve and the Great Depression affected interbank networks and lending practices. The creation of the Fed reduced network concentration and therefore contagion risk, but the system remained vulnerable to local panics.

Janine Aron, John Muellbauer, 07 May 2019

Mobile money has transformed the landscape of financial inclusion in developing and emerging market countries, leapfrogging the provision of formal banking services. This column explains how mobile money potentially helps ameliorate several areas of market failure in developing economies, including saving, insurance, and the empowerment of women. It illustrates these effects using examples from a burgeoning empirical literature and concludes that the system-wide effects of mobile money may be even greater than current studies suggest.

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