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Bank insolvencies : cross-country experience


Author Info

  • Caprio, Gerard Jr.
  • Klingebiel, Daniela


Few areas of the world have escaped significant losses from episodes of bank insolvency. Bank insolvency is more costly in the developing world, where losses represent a greater share of income. The authors present data on bank insolvency episodes since the late 1970s. This new database can be used in conjunction with readily available data. Information and insights are presented in seven tables on: a) major bank insolvencies episodes and systemic banking crises; b) main characteristics of banking crises; c) trade terms in crisis countries; d) trade concentration prior to crises; e) restructuring characteristics; f) financial analysis of crisis countries; and g) restructuring outcome in crisis countries. In a companion paper the authors discuss possible preventatives and the tradeoff between safety and soundness versus efficiency. Meanwhile, this initial database suggests further avenues for research. There is a dearth of widely available indicators on bank performance. More attention should be focused on developing indicators that might predict bank insolvency for individual banks and systems as a whole. The authors devise criteria for assessing how governments deal with insolvency and find that countries handle it well.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1620.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1620

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Related research

Keywords: Financial Crisis Management&Restructuring; Banks&Banking Reform; Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Financial Intermediation; Decentralization; Banks&Banking Reform; Financial Crisis Management&Restructuring; Financial Intermediation; Banking Law; Municipal Financial Management;


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  1. Fleming, Alex & Talley, Samuel, 1996. "The Latvian banking crisis : lessons learned," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1590, The World Bank.
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