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Dividends and Bank Capital in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009

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  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Gujral, Irvind
  • Kulkarni, Nirupama
  • Shin, Hyun Song

Abstract

The headline numbers appear to show that even as banks and financial intermediaries suffered large credit losses in the financial crisis of 2007-09, they raised substantial amounts of new capital, both from private investors and through government-funded capital injections. However, on closer inspection the composition of bank capital shifted radically from one based on common equity to that based on debt-like hybrid claims such as preferred equity and subordinated debt. The erosion of common equity was exacerbated by large scale payments of dividends, in spite of widely anticipated credit losses. Dividend payments represent a transfer from creditors (and potentially taxpayers) to equity holders in violation of the priority of debt over equity. The dwindling pool of common equity in the banking system may have been one reason for the continued reluctance by banks to lend over this period. We draw conclusions on how capital regulation may be reformed in light of our findings.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8801.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8801

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Keywords: asset substitution; crisis; regulatory capital; risk-shifting;

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References

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  1. Acharya, Viral V & Schnabl, Philipp & Suarez, Gustavo, 2012. "Securitization Without Risk Transfer," CEPR Discussion Papers 8769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Leverage, Moral Hazard and Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 15837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  4. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
  5. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Viral V. Acharya & Hamid Mehran & Anjan V. Thakor, 2010. "Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting," Working Paper 1024, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Eric S. Rosengren, 2010. "Dividend policy and capital retention: a systemic “first response”," Speech 38, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  8. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Tommaso Trani, 2012. "Countercyclical Capital Regulation and Bank Ownership Structure," IHEID Working Papers 14-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  2. Landier, Augustin & Sraer, David & Thesmar, David, 2011. "The risk-Shifting Hypothesis," IDEI Working Papers 699, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Riccetti, Luca & Russo, Alberto & Gallegati, Mauro, 2013. "Financialisation and Crisis in an Agent Based Macroeconomomic Model," MPRA Paper 51074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Landier, Augustin & Sraer, David & Thesmar, David, 2011. "The risk-Shifting Hypothesis : Evidence from Subprime Originations," TSE Working Papers 11-279, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Michal Kowalik, 2011. "Countercyclical capital regulation: should bank regulators use rules or discretion?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II.
  6. Haq, Mamiza & Faff, Robert & Seth, Rama & Mohanty, Sunil, 2014. "Disciplinary tools and bank risk exposure," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 37-64.
  7. Anat R. Admati & Peter M. DeMarzo & Martin F. Hellwig & Paul Pfleiderer, 2013. "Fallacies, Irrelevant Facts, and Myths in the Discussion of Capital Regulation: Why Bank Equity is Not Socially Expensive," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_23, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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