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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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    Keywords: Bank management ; Deposit insurance ; Risk;

    References

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    2. Allen N. Berger & Anil K. Kashyap & Joseph M. Scalise, 1995. "The Transformation of the U.S. Banking Industry: What a Long, Strange Trips It's Been," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 55-218.
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    15. 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.
    16. Houston, Joel F. & James, Christopher, 1995. "CEO compensation and bank risk Is compensation in banking structured to promote risk taking?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 405-431, November.
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    18. Edward J. Kane & Haluk Unal, 1988. "Change in Market Assessments of Deposit-Institution Riskiness," NBER Working Papers 2530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. 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.
    20. Kane, Edward J, 1990. " Principal-Agent Problems in S&L Salvage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(3), pages 755-64, July.
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    23. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. David T. 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, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Teresa garcía Marco & M. Dolores Robles-Fernández, 2005. "Risk tasking behaviour and ownership in the banking industry: the Spanish evidence," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0507, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Augusto Hasman, 2013. "A Critical Review Of Contagion Risk In Banking," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 978-995, December.
    13. 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.
    14. D.T. Llewellyn, 2000. "Some Lessons for Bank Regulation from Recent Crises," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 51, Netherlands Central Bank.
    15. 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).

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