Johannes Kasinger, Jan Pieter Krahnen, Steven Ongena, Loriana Pelizzon, Maik Schmeling, Mark Wahrenburg, 01 April 2021

Once moratoria and other Covid-19 support measures are unwound, European banks will likely be confronted by a wave of non-performing loans. This column provides empirical insights on the current levels of such loans in Europe and draws lessons from previous financial crises for their effective treatment. It highlights the importance of early and realistic assessment of loan losses to avoid adverse incentives for banks. Secondary loan markets would help in this process and further facilitate bank resolution as laid down in the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, which should be upheld even in extreme scenarios.

Alex Edmans, 17 March 2021

It is often taken for granted that sustainability reduces a company’s cost of capital. This column argues that the relationship is significantly more complex and depends on a number of factors. It highlights an important distinction between the ‘cost of capital’ and ‘expected cash flow’ channels, which may lead to similar final outcomes but imply different underlying mechanisms. Additional factors, such as the level and nature of systemic risk, the amount of risk aversion, and the cyclical behaviour of public trust in business, are also crucial in determining whether sustainable companies enjoy a lower cost of capital. 

Thorsten Beck, Elena Carletti, Brunella Bruno, 17 March 2021

The combined effect of the measures implemented to maintain banks’ ability to provide funds during the Covid crisis was to create a virtuous circle between corporates, banks, and sovereigns, avoiding a funding crunch for either and keeping risk premiums at deflated levels. However, it also created the basis for possible increased systemic risk in the future. This column argues that the exit strategy from the various support measures must be carefully designed and coordinated, as well as communicated in a clear and timely manner.

Stefano Borgioli, Carl-Wolfram Horn, Urszula Kochanska, Philippe Molitor, Francesco Paolo Mongelli, Eva Mulder, Alessandro Zito, 03 December 2020

The COVID-19 shock is unprecedented in terms of the scale and speed of its effects. This column provides an overview of financial fragmentation in the euro area during the crisis through the lens of a novel high-frequency composite indicator. It reveals that after an initial sharp deterioration, euro area financial integration broadly recovered to pre-crisis levels by mid-September, thanks to unprecedented fiscal, monetary and prudential policy responses.

Claudia M. Buch, 25 September 2020

Structured policy evaluations are important for the accountability and transparency of policy responses to global crises. Such evaluations require good infrastructure, including access to data and information on policies. In 2017, the Financial Stability Board began a comprehensive evaluation of post-crisis financial-sector reforms. This column draws on this evaluation to examine the state of the global banking system at the onset of COVID-19 crisis and highlights important lessons to be learned from the policy response to the Global Crisis.  

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.

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Dimitri Vayanos, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 26 March 2020

Many comparisons have been made between the coronavirus crisis and the global systemic crisis in 2008. This column argues that seen through the lens of exogenous and endogenous risk, these two crises are quite different. Coronavirus is unlikely to cause a global systemic crisis, and the policy response should be different.

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Andreas Uthemann, 06 March 2020

Artificial intelligence, such as the Bank of England Bot, is set to take over an increasing number of central bank functions. This column argues that the increased use of AI in central banking will bring significant cost and efficiency benefits, but also raise important concerns that are so far unresolved.

Sanjiv Das, Kris Mitchener, Angela Vossmeyer, 11 March 2019

The Global Crisis brought attention to how connections among financial institutions may make systems more prone to crises. Turning to a major financial crisis from the past, this column uses data from the Great Depression to study risk in the commercial banking network leading up to the crisis and how the network structure influenced the outcomes. It demonstrates that when the distribution of risk is more concentrated at the top of the system, as it was in 1929, fragility and the propensity for risk to spread increases.

Denefa Bostandzic, Felix Irresberger, Ragnar Juelsrud, Gregor Weiss, 15 January 2018

Since the financial crisis, curbing systemic risk has become a key objective for policymakers around the world. This column sheds light on how successful capital requirements are in terms of reducing systemic risk, in the context of the European banking sector. Results show that an increase in capital requirements in Europe lead to heightened measures of systemic risk, in opposition to the goals of the exercise. This does not imply, however, that capital requirements are welfare decreasing.

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 11 December 2018

Macroprudential tools have been implemented widely following the Global Crisis. Using data from 900,000 firms in 49 countries, this column finds that such policies are associated with lower credit growth during the period 2003-2011. The effects are especially significant for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and young firms that are more financially constrained and bank dependent. The results imply a trade-off between financial stability and inclusion.

Alex Brazier, 26 October 2018

Thanks to transformative post-crisis reforms, the financial system is safer and simpler than it was a decade ago. But the structure of the system continues to evolve, partly in reaction to those reforms. Economies are now more reliant on market-based finance. This column argues that to deliver the macroprudential objective of a system that is able to serve households and businesses in bad times as well as good, policymakers must run stress simulations on systemic markets as well as systemic banks, and take pre-emptive corrective action where necessary.

Ester Faia, Sébastien Laffitte, Gianmarco Ottaviano, 20 September 2018

There is a general consensus that lax monetary policy and banking globalisation were two critical factors behind the Global Crisis. This column explores how banks’ decisions to enter foreign markets impacted their individual and systemic risk. Results from a sample of European banks suggest that banks’ foreign expansions decreased risk from both an individual and systemic viewpoint. The findings cast doubt on the idea that banking globalisation was one of the culprits behind the crisis.

Andrew Ellul, Chotibhak Jotikasthira, Anastasia Kartasheva, Christian Lundblad, Wolf Wagner, 05 June 2018

Systemic risk analyses have largely focused on the linkages among financial institutions’ funding arrangements, but there are increasing connections between insurers and the rest of the financial system. This column explores how systemic risk can originate from insurers’ business models. In the event of negative asset shocks, insurers’ collective allocation to illiquid bonds leads to an amplification of system-wide fire sales. These dynamics can plausibly erase up to 20-70% of insurers’ aggregate equity capital.

Jon Danielsson, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 19 March 2018

Nearly ten years on from the Global Crisis, systemic risk continues to threaten global economic stability. Using the analogy of London's Millennium Bridge, in this video Jon Danielsson and Jean-Pierre Zigrand explain systemic risk as the result of agents behaving rationally at the individual level to protect their own interests. This video was originally published by the LSE's Systemic Risk Centre.

Ron Anderson, Chikako Baba, Jon Danielsson, Heedon Kang, Udaibir Das, Miguel Segoviano, 15 February 2018

Current stress testing of banks is focused on the resiliency of individual banks to exogenous shocks. This column describes how the next generation of macroprudential stress tests aim to capture the endogenous nature of systemic risk caused by the interaction of all the institutions and markets making up the financial system. This will lead to a better policy mix aimed at preserving financial stability.

Natalia Tente, Natalja von Westernhagen, Ulf Slopek, 06 December 2017

Regulators are still debating the amount of capital needed to support bank losses in a financial crisis. This column presents a new, pragmatic stress-testing tool that can answer the question under macroeconomic stress scenarios. The method models inter-sector and inter-country dependence structures between banks in a holistic, top-down supervisory framework. A test of 12 major German banks as of 2013 suggests that while there is enough capital in the system as a whole, capital allocation among the banks is not optimal.

Yener Altunbaş, Mahir Binici, Leonardo Gambacorta, Andres Murcia, 05 December 2017

The main objective of macroprudential tools is to reduce systemic risks – in particular, the frequency and depth of financial crises. Most studies look at the impact of macroprudential measures on credit growth, focusing on country-wide data or bank-level information. This column presents new evidence using credit registry data at the bank-firm level to evaluate the impact on bank risk measures. Results show that macroprudential tools help stabilise credit cycles and contain bank risk.

Vincent Bignon, Guillaume Vuillemey, 04 December 2017

To improve financial stability after the Global Crisis, regulators have mandated the use of central clearing counterparties for standardised derivatives. While they are designed to insulate investors against counterparty risk, the central clearing counterparties themselves can fail. This column uses historical data to discuss how this can happen. The results show the risks to financial stability when a central clearing counterparty starts gambling for its resurrection.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 03 December 2017

The Global Crisis dramatically revealed the severity of ignorance about risk exposure in the global financial system. A major issue is the complexity of legal structures with webs of subsidiaries and a lack of consolidated information systems. This column describes efforts to address these failings through the launching of a global legal entity identifier. The initiative offers great promise for addressing the complex information problems. However, network externalities imply that its success will depend on participation and adoption incentives.


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