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Agency problems and risk taking at banks

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  • Rebecca S. Demsetz
  • Marc R. Saidenberg
  • Philip E. Strahan
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    Abstract

    The moral hazard problem associated with deposit insurance generates the potential for excessive risk taking on the part of bank owners. The banking literature identifies franchise value -- a firm’s profit-generating potential -- as one force mitigating that risk taking. We argue that in the presence of owner/manager agency problems, managerial risk aversion may also offset the excessive risk taking that stems from moral hazard. Empirical models of bank risk tend to focus either on the disciplinary role of franchise value or on owner/manager agency problems. We estimate a unified model and find that both franchise value and ownership structure affect risk at banks. More important, we identify an interesting interaction effect: The relationship between ownership structure and risk is significant only at low franchise value banks -- those where moral hazard problems are most severe and where conflicts between owner and manager risk preferences are therefore strongest. Risk is lower at banks with no insider holdings, but among other banks, there is no relationship between the level of insider holdings and risk. This suggests that the owner/manager agency problem affects the choice of risk for only a small number of banks -- those with low franchise value and no insider holdings. Most of these banks increase their insider holdings within a year, and these changes in ownership structure are associated with increased risk. This suggests that owner/manager agency problems are quickly addressed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 29.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:29

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    Related research

    Keywords: Bank management ; Deposit insurance ; Risk;

    References

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    1. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
    2. Elijah Brewer, III & Marc R. Saidenberg, 1996. "Franchise value, ownership structure, and risk at savings institutions," Research Paper 9632, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Merton, Robert C., 1977. "An analytic derivation of the cost of deposit insurance and loan guarantees An application of modern option pricing theory," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-11, June.
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    6. Randall S. Kroszner & Philip E. Strahan, 1997. "The political economy of deregulation: evidence from the relaxation of bank branching restrictions in the United States," Research Paper 9720, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Edward J. Kane & Haluk Unal, 1988. "Change in Market Assessments of Deposit-Institution Riskiness," NBER Working Papers 2530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Demsetz, Rebecca S & Strahan, Philip E, 1997. "Diversification, Size, and Risk at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 300-313, August.
    9. Saunders, Anthony & Strock, Elizabeth & Travlos, Nickolaos G, 1990. " Ownership Structure, Deregulation, and Bank Risk Taking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 643-54, June.
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    16. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
    17. Rebecca S. Demsetz & Marc R. Saidenberg & Philip E. Strahan, 1996. "Banks with something to lose: the disciplinary role of franchise value," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 1-14.
    18. Stephen Prowse, 1995. "Alternative methods of corporate control in commercial banks," Working Papers 9507, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
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    21. Randall S. Kroszner & Philip E. Strahan, 1997. "The Political Economy of Deregulation: Evidence From the Relaxation of Bank Branching Restrictions in the United States," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 136, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    22. Keeley, Michael C, 1990. "Deposit Insurance, Risk, and Market Power in Banking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1183-1200, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Rómulo Chumacero E. & Patricia S. Langoni, 2001. "Risk, Size and Concentration in the Chilean Banking System," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 4(1), pages 25-34, April.
    2. David Llewellyn, 2002. "An analysis of the causes of recent banking crises," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 152-175.
    3. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Uhde, André, 2010. "Zur Neuregulierung des Bankensektors nach der Finanzkrise: Bewertung der Reformvorhaben der EU aus ordnungspolitischer Sicht," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 02, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. Anderson, Ronald C. & Fraser, Donald R., 2000. "Corporate control, bank risk taking, and the health of the banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1383-1398, August.
    5. Iannotta, Giuliano & Nocera, Giacomo & Sironi, Andrea, 2007. "Ownership structure, risk and performance in the European banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2127-2149, July.
    6. Richard J. Sullivan & Kenneth R. Spong, 1998. "How does ownership structure and manager wealth influence risk? : a look at ownership structure, manager wealth, and risk in commercial banks," Financial Industry Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Dec, pages 15-40.
    7. Christine Marsal, 2006. "La cohérence dans la mobilisation du capital humain:une illustration de la théorie de l’architecture organisationnelle dans les banques de réseau," Working Papers CREGO 1060501, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    8. Robert DeYoung & Kenneth Spong & Richard J. Sullivan, 1999. "Who's minding the store? motivating and monitoring hired managers at small, closely held firms: the case of commercial banks," Working Paper Series WP-99-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Sullivan, Richard J. & Spong, Kenneth R., 2007. "Manager wealth concentration, ownership structure, and risk in commercial banks," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 229-248, April.
    10. Augusto Hasman, 2013. "A Critical Review Of Contagion Risk In Banking," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 978-995, December.
    11. Martin BROWNBRIDGE, 1998. "The Causes Of Financial Distress In Local Banks In Africa And Implications For Prudential Policy," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 132, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    12. Teresa garcía Marco & M. Dolores Robles-Fernández, 2005. "Risk tasking behaviour and ownership in the banking industry: the Spanish evidence," Documentos del Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico 0507, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales.
    13. D.T. Llewellyn, 2000. "Some Lessons for Bank Regulation from Recent Crises," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 51, Netherlands Central Bank.
    14. Boubakri, Narjess & Cosset, Jean-Claude & Fischer, Klaus & Guedhami, Omrane, 2005. "Privatization and bank performance in developing countries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2015-2041, August.
    15. Arthur Petit-Romec, 2011. "L'intérêt d'un renforcement des fonds propres bancaires (et de mesures complémentaires) pour concilier stabilité financière, performance et bon fonctionnement des banques," Post-Print dumas-00643745, HAL.

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