Thorsten Beck, Deyan Radev, Isabel Schnabel, 12 May 2020

Bank resolution regimes designed to deal with idiosyncratic bank distress have been widely established or upgraded over the last decade. This column shows however, that more comprehensive resolution regimes may increase systemic risk in response to a system-wide shock. Hence, bank resolution regimes may benefit from a macroprudential design, including a strictly defined financial stability exemption for bail-in rules during periods of systemic distress.

Giorgio Gobbi, Francesco Palazzo, Anatoli Segura, 15 April 2020

Most governments have introduced temporary credit guarantees to ensure banks can provide the liquidity needed by firms during the Covid-19 crisis. This column argues that these policies create incentives for banks to foreclose guaranteed loans maturing close to the expiration date of the guarantee scheme. This hidden effect is worse for firms whose debt is set to substantially increase during the pandemic. To avoid foreclosure ‘waves’ on the eve of the public guarantee termination, complementary measures that reduce firms’ debt burden should also be adopted.

Zuzana Fungáčová, Eeva Kerola, Laurent Weill, 28 March 2020

Trust in banks is a core determinant of financial system effectiveness. While it is well-established that trust in banks fell sharply following the Global Crisis and affected individual decision-making and risk preferences, the longer-term impact of banking crises on trust in banks has not yet been explored. This column looks at the effect of experiencing a banking crisis on people’s long-term confidence in banks. It shows that living through a banking crisis diminishes trust in banks, especially for more mature individuals, and that the loss of trust is long-lasting. 

Ignazio Angeloni, 24 March 2020

Banks are the key to providing financial oxygen to the economy, but the coronavirus pandemic is raising the risk that banks in the euro area will cease to function. This column argues that the return to normality we all crave requires, among other things, that banks be saved, and that this will not happen unless regulation is adapted and more public support is provided.

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.

Olivier De Jonghe, Hans Dewachter, Klaas Mulier, Steven Ongena, Glenn Schepens, 06 March 2020

Banks in Belgium made strategic lending decisions after the freeze of the interbank funding market in September 2008. This column uses bank-firm combinations to show that banks reallocated credit to sectors where they can more easily extract rents or in which they have an information advantage, or to low-risk firms.

Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, Deniz Igan, Paolo Mauro, Hala Moussawi, Alexander F. Tieman, Aleksandra Zdzienicka, 04 March 2020

During the Global Crisis, governments rescued banks with capital injections, asset purchases, and guarantees. Until now, we have had no clear idea what happened to that taxpayer money. This column uses bank-level data to compile a comprehensive accounting of the costs of, and returns on, these interventions. While initial public support cost $1.6 trillion, the total fiscal impact has been $250 billion – on average less than 1% of GDP.

Emily Liu, Friederike Niepmann, Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 02 February 2020

After the Global Crisis, accommodative monetary policy also eased financial conditions in emerging market economies. This column shows that US banks contributed to the transmission of US monetary policy and that regulation and supervision attenuated it. Only US banks that performed well in the Fed’s annual stress tests expanded their lending to emerging markets in response to monetary easing. Banks that performed poorly left their lending unchanged.

Florian Heider, Farzad Saidi, Glenn Schepens, 17 December 2019

In recent years, several central banks have steered policy rates into negative territory for the first time in their history. The novel nature of negative rates raises several questions about how monetary policy operates in such non-standard territory. This column summarises recent research that focuses on the impact of negative policy rates on bank credit supply and bank risk-taking in the euro area. The findings point to a crucial role for bank deposits in the transmission mechanism of negative rates.

Pontus Rendahl, Lukas B. Freund, 14 December 2019

In recent years, some have claimed that banks create money ‘ex nihilo’. This column explains that banks do not create money out of thin air. From an economic viewpoint, commercial banks create private money by transforming an illiquid asset (the borrower’s future ability to repay) into a liquid one (bank deposits); they would quickly be insolvent otherwise. In addition to bank solvency representing a constraint on private money creation, banks require access to liquid reserves in order to be able to engage in money creation. 

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.

Anne-Laure Delatte, Pranav Garg, Jean Imbs, 21 May 2019

The ECB's unconventional monetary policy package implemented in February 2012 changed collateral requirements. This column examines the effects in the French credit market, using data on corporate loans. Credit indeed increased after the liquidity injection, exclusively driven by supply. There was also strategic risk-taking by a group of banks, an unintentional implication of the policy.

Ellen Ryan, Karl Whelan, 05 April 2019

The EU’s asset purchase programme saw its central banks’ reserve balances increase to unprecedent levels. This column analyses the response of banks in the euro area to this expansion in system-wide reserves, in particular whether they absorbed the excess liquidity or tried to push it off their balance sheets. The findings suggest that banks dealt with the increased reserves with the purchase of debt securities or paying down funding sources rather than lending to the real economy.

Sebastian Doerr, José-Luis Peydró, Hans-Joachim Voth, 15 March 2019

Polarised politics in the wake of financial crises echo throughout modern history, but evidence of a causal link between economic downturns and populism is limited. This column shows that financial crisis-induced misery boosted far right-wing voting in interwar Germany. In towns and cities where many firms were exposed to failing banks, Nazi votes surged. In particular, places exposed to the one bank led by a Jewish chairman registered particularly strong increases of support – scapegoating Jews was easier with seemingly damning evidence of their negative influence.  

Christian Keuschnigg, Michael Kogler, 04 March 2019

Only strong banks can fulfil their Schumpeterian role by efficiently reallocating credit. The column argues that high capital standards, efficient bankruptcy laws, and a lower cost of bank equity improve credit reallocation and thereby support the productive specialisation of the economy. An efficient banking sector also magnifies the gains from trade liberalisation by easing the process of capital reallocation.

Rui Esteves, 15 February 2019

A new data set compiles the history of international finance spanning a century and a half, revealing new information about globalisation, crises and capital flows. Rui Esteves of the Graduate Institute, Geneva, tells Tim Phillips what lessons it offers for policymakers today.

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After seven successful workshops, the organizing committee of this small informal workshop invites submissions of high-quality theoretical and empirical research on financial intermediation. Scholars in the fields of banking and finance will meet to discuss current issues in banking, financial stability, and financial regulation, focusing on policy reforms for a stable global financial environment. The workshop will provide an opportunity for presentations and discussions about policy-relevant research in an informal and highly interactive environment.

Mikael Homanen, 15 October 2018

Bank creditors have non-financial preferences too, and may withdraw deposits as a form of discipline. This column shows that protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline that targeted investor banks caused significant decreases in deposit growth, and global data suggest that this type of reaction to bank-specific scandals is widespread.

Jose A. Lopez, Andrew Rose, Mark Spiegel, 02 October 2018

Many countries have now adopted negative nominal interest rates. The column uses data on 5,000 banks affected by this policy to conclude that, while their net income has not fallen, strategies to increase non-interest income are unlikely to be sustainable. Therefore we cannot assume that bank performance and lending will carry on at current levels over extended periods of negative policy rates.

Richard Thakor, Robert Merton, 21 August 2018

Trust in financial products and institutions is widely recognised as being essential for financial markets to function efficiently. This column argues that trust in financial institutions may have a first-order impact on whether non-bank (fintech) firms can survive when competing against traditional banks. When trust is lost and reputation becomes important, the cost of funding rises more for fintech firms than for banks, as financiers see that banks have a stronger reputational incentive to make good loans. So while banks may be able to survive a loss of trust, fintech lenders will be forced to shut down.

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