Carlo Altavilla, Francesca Barbiero, Miguel Boucinha, Lorenzo Burlon, 03 October 2020

The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the associated economic downturn has prompted vast policy responses by governments. This column assesses the effectiveness of policies targeted at supporting bank lending conditions in the euro area. It finds that banks were largely able to accommodate the unprecedented credit demand due to the funding cost and capital relief of the pandemic response measures. The close coordination between monetary policy and prudential measures has contributed by generating a sizable amplification effect on lending. Consequently, an even larger decline in firms’ employment was averted. 

Çağatay Bircan, Ralph De Haas, 10 August 2019

Recent debates about the global productivity slowdown point to a large and increasing productivity gap between firms operating at the global technological frontier and those trailing behind. This column analyses whether better access to bank credit can accelerate technological diffusion and narrow the productivity gap between leading and lagging firms. Using data from a large emerging market – Russia – it shows that while bank loans can encourage firms to adopt new technologies and become more productive, long-run benefits vary substantially across industries and regions.

Harry Huizinga, Luc Laeven, 29 May 2019

A high procyclicality of banks’ loan loss provisioning is undesirable from a financial stability perspective, as it implies that bank capitalisations are more negatively affected at the trough of the business cycle, exactly when capital market conditions for banks are at their weakest. This column finds that provisioning procyclicality in the euro area is about twice as high as in other countries. This has important implications for the supervision of euro area banks going forward.

Steven Davis, John Haltiwanger, 05 May 2019

Young firms live a financially precarious life, often dependent on self-funding tied to the value of the business owners’ homes. This column uses data from the US to show that housing market fluctuations play a major role in driving medium-term changes in young firm employment shares. As young firms hire a disproportionate number of younger and less-educated workers, these groups are disproportionately affected by house price fluctuations. 

Roman Goncharenko, Steven Ongena, Asad Rauf, 03 March 2019

Most regulators grant contingent convertible bonds the status of equity. The theory, however, suggests that these securities can distort banks’ incentives to issue new equity. Using a model and European data, this column shows that banks with lower risk are more likely to issue CoCos compared to their riskier counterparts. In line with Basel III, banks are expected to raise equity prior to CoCo conversion, which makes the bonds an expensive source of capital. The design of CoCos should be revised if they are to enjoy equity-like treatment. 

Claudia M. Buch, Matthieu Bussière, Linda Goldberg, Robert Hills, 20 April 2018

The channels through which one country’s monetary policy affects the international economy are still not that well understood. This column presents findings from latest project of the International Banking Research Network, which reveal that monetary policy spillover effects via bank lending are significant across countries in both conventional and unconventional periods. While the results provide some support to the bank lending and portfolio channels traditionally studied in the literature, they also suggest that other bank-level frictions matter.

Filippo Ippolito, Ali Ozdagli, Ander Perez, 02 February 2016

Most lending by banks to corporations occurs through loans with floating interest rates. As a result, conventional monetary policy actions are transmitted directly to borrowers via a change in the interest rate paid on existing bank loans. This column argues that the ‘pass-through’ of policy rates to the cost of outstanding bank loans has significant real effects for corporations.

Jon Danielsson, Eva Micheler, Katja Neugebauer, Andreas Uthemann, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 23 February 2015

The proposed EU capital markets union aims to revitalise Europe’s economy by creating efficient funding channels between providers of loanable funds and firms best placed to use them. This column argues that a successful union would deliver investment, innovation, and growth, but it depends on overcoming difficult regulatory challenges. A successful union would also change the nature of systemic risk in Europe.

Stephen Cecchetti, 17 December 2014

Regulators forced up capital requirements after the Global Crisis – triggering fears in the banking industry of dire effects. This column – by former BIS Chief Economist Steve Cecchetti – introduces a new CEPR Policy Insight that argues that the capital increases had little impact on anything but bank profitability. Lending spreads and interest margins are nearly unchanged, while credit growth remains robust everywhere but in Europe. Perhaps the requirements should be raised further. 

Stephen Cecchetti, 17 December 2014

Regulators forced up capital requirements up after the Global Crisis – triggering fears in the industry of dire effects. CEPR Policy Insight 76 – by former BIS Chief Economist Steve Cecchetti – argues that the capital increases had little impact on anything but bank profitability. Lending spreads and interest margins are nearly unchanged, while credit growth remains robust everywhere but in Europe. Perhaps the requirements should be raised further. 

Charles Wyplosz, 12 September 2014

Last week, the ECB announced that it would begin purchasing securities backed by bank lending to households and firms. Whereas markets and the media have generally greeted this announcement with enthusiasm, this column identifies reasons for caution. Other central banks’ quantitative easing programmes have involved purchasing fixed amounts of securities according to a published schedule. In contrast, the ECB’s new policy is demand-driven, and will only be effective if it breaks the vicious circle of recession and negative credit growth.

Jonathan Bridges, David Gregory, Mette Nielsen, Silvia Pezzini, Amar Radia, Marco Spaltro, 02 September 2014

Since the Global Crisis, support has grown for the use of time-varying capital requirements as a macroprudential policy tool. This column examines the effect of bank-specific, time-varying capital requirements in the UK between 1990 and 2011. In response to increased capital requirements, banks gradually increase their capital ratios to restore their original buffers above the regulatory minimum, reducing lending temporarily as they do so. The largest effects are on commercial real estate lending, followed by lending to other corporates and then secured lending to households.

Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa, 13 August 2014

Natural disasters affect firm activities both directly and indirectly. One prominent indirect effect is on firms’ transaction partners, in particular – their banks. This column shows how damage to banks affects firm activities, such as capital investment and exports, using as a natural experiment Japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake. Bank damage has a significant and negative impact on both firm investment and on exports but this effect does not last very long.

Thorsten Beck, Hans Degryse, Ralph De Haas, Neeltje van Horen, 25 July 2014

The small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) were among the most severely affected in the Global Crisis. This column discusses new evidence on how different lending techniques affect lending in bad and good times. Data from 21 countries in central and eastern Europe show that ‘relationship lending’ alleviates credit constraints during a cyclical downturn but not during a boom period. The positive impact of relationship lending in an economic downturn is strongest for smaller and more opaque firms and in regions where the downturn is more severe.

Nicola Gennaioli, Alberto Martin, Stefano Rossi, 19 July 2014

There is growing concern – but little systematic evidence – about the relationship between sovereign default and banking crises. This column documents the link between public default, bank bondholdings, and bank loans. Banks hold many public bonds in normal times (on average 9% of their assets), particularly in less financially developed countries. During sovereign defaults, banks increase their exposure to public bonds – especially large banks, and when expected bond returns are high. At the bank level, bondholdings correlate negatively with subsequent lending during sovereign defaults.

Mickey Levy, 16 May 2014

As banks repay their loans from the Long-Term Refinancing Operation, the ECB’s balance sheet is shrinking. This column argues that, given the slow recovery and sustained low inflation, the ECB should replace its bank lending programme with quantitative easing. Buying short-term government debt would be consistent with the ECB’s inflation target, would keep the ECB’s monetary policy separate from its role in bank supervision, and would create a built-in exit strategy from unconventional policy.

Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Herman Kamil, Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, 22 August 2011

How do financial crises turn into recessions? The authors of CEPR DP8543 analyze and adjudicate between two prominent explanations--the bank lending channel and the balance sheet channel. Their evidence indicates that a smaller credit supply, not the insolvency of firms, is what causes real post-crisis contractions.

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