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Does faster loan growth lead to higher loan losses?

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  • William R. Keeton
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    Abstract

    During the last couple of years, concern has increased that the exceptionally rapid growth in business loans at commercial banks has been due in large part to excessively easy credit standards. Some analysts argue that competition for loan customers has greatly increased, causing banks to reduce loan rates and ease credit standards to obtain new business. Others argue that as the economic expansion has continued and memories of past loan losses have faded, banks have become more willing to take risks. Whichever explanation is correct, the acceleration in loan growth could lead eventually to a surge in loan losses, reducing bank profits and sparking a new round of bank failures. As the experience of the early 1990s made clear, such a slump in banking could not only threaten the deposit insurance fund but also slow the economy by discouraging banks from granting new loans.> The view that faster loan growth leads to higher loan losses should not be dismissed lightly; nor should it be accepted without question. If loan growth increases because banks become more willing to lend, credit standards should fall and loan losses should eventually rise. But loan growth can increase for reasons other than a shift in supply, for example, businesses may decide to shift their financing from the capital markets to banks, or an increase in productivity may boost the returns to investment. In such cases, faster loan growth need not lead to higher loan losses.> Keeton explains why supply shifts are necessary for faster loan growth to lead to higher loan losses and determines if supply shifts have caused loan growth and loan losses to be positively related in the past. On balance, he finds limited support for the view that supply shifts have caused loan growth and loan losses to be positively related. Data on business loans and delinquencies show that states experiencing unusually rapid loan growth tended to experience unusually big increases in delinquency rates several years later. His finding is tempered, however, by evidence on business loan growth and business credit standards suggesting that changes in loan growth are not always due to shifts in supply.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): (1999)
    Issue (Month): Q II ()
    Pages: 57-75

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1999:i:qii:p:57-75:n:v.84no.2

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    Keywords: Bank loans ; Loans;

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    Cited by:
    1. Foos, Daniel & Norden, Lars & Weber, Martin, 2010. "Loan growth and riskiness of banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2929-2940, December.
    2. J.A. Bikker & P.A.J. Metzemakers, 2002. "Bank provisioning behaviour and procyclicality," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 50, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
    3. Kelly, Robert & McQuinn, Kieran & Stuart, Rebecca, 2011. "Exploring the Steady-State Relationship between Credit and GDP for a Small Open Economy - The Case of Ireland," Research Technical Papers 1/RT/11, Central Bank of Ireland.
    4. Grigori Fainstein & Igor Novikov, 2011. "The Comparative Analysis of Credit Risk Determinants In the Banking Sector of the Baltic States," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 20-45, June.
    5. Alejandro Jara & Carmen Gloria Silva, 2007. "Metodología de la Encuesta sobre Condiciones Generales y Estándares en el Mercado de Crédito Bancario," Economic Statistics Series 57, Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Pesola, Jarmo, 2001. "The role of macroeconomic shocks in banking crises," Research Discussion Papers 6/2001, Bank of Finland.
    7. Grigori Fainstein & Igor Novikov, 2011. "The role of macroeconomic determinants in credit risk measurement in transition country: Estonian example," International Journal of Transitions and Innovation Systems, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(2), pages 117-137.
    8. Olga Andreeva, 2004. "Aggregate bankruptcy probabilities and their role in explaining banks’ loan losses," Working Paper 2004/02, Norges Bank.
    9. Kobayashi, Teruyoshi, 2011. "Firm entry, credit availability and monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1245-1272, August.
    10. Vincent Bouvatier & Laetitia Lepetit, 2008. "Banks' Procyclical Behavior: Does Provisioning Matter?," Post-Print hal-00916599, HAL.
    11. Ivan Baboucek & Martin Jancar, 2005. "Effects of Macroeconomic Shocks to the Quality of the Aggregate Loan Portfolio," Working Papers 2005/01, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
    12. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Stefano Di Colli & Juan Sergio Lopez, 2013. "Bank Lending Procyclicality and Credit Quality during Financial Crises," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1309, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Sabbah Gueddoudj, 2013. "Fluctuations Economiques et Dynamiques de la Constitution de Provisions Pour Créances Douteuses des Banques Luxembourgeoises," BCL working papers 81, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    14. Cevdet Denizer & Mustafa Dinc & Murat Tarimcilar, 2007. "Financial liberalization and banking efficiency: evidence from Turkey," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 177-195, June.
    15. Stefanelli, Valeria & Matteo, Cotugno, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis on Board Monitoring Role and Loan Portfolio Quality Measurement in Banks," MPRA Paper 29766, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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