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Will German Banks Earn Their Cost Of Capital?

Author

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  • Andreas Dombret
  • Yalin Gündüz
  • Jörg Rocholl

Abstract

In recent years, the German banking sector has overcome major challenges such as the global financial crisis and the European debt crisis. This paper analyzes a recent development as a particular determinant of the future outlook for the German banking sector. Interest rates are at historically low levels and may remain at these levels for a considerable period of time. Such levels pose a specific challenge to banks which are heavily dependent on interest income, as is the case for most German banks. We consider different interest rate scenarios and analyze the extent to which they cause a further narrowing of the interest rate margin. Our results indicate that a projected decline in this margin will result in no more than 20% of German banks earning a cost of capital of 8% by the end of this decade. However, we show that this decline is alleviated by the fact that German banks can apply a special feature of German accounting standards by using hidden and open reserves. We discuss how these income smoothing tools will provide a cushion that supports short‐ and medium‐term adjustments through a buffer effect. (JEL G21, G28)

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Dombret & Yalin Gündüz & Jörg Rocholl, 2019. "Will German Banks Earn Their Cost Of Capital?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 156-169, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:37:y:2019:i:1:p:156-169
    DOI: 10.1111/coep.12266
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:jfinin:v:35:y:2018:i:pa:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Christoph Memmel, 2008. "Which interest rate scenario is the worst one for a bank? Evidence from a tracking bank approach for German savings and cooperative banks," International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 85-104.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Germany's Three-Pillar Banking System; Cross-Country Perspectives in Europe," IMF Occasional Papers 233, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Memmel, Christoph, 2011. "Banks' exposure to interest rate risk, their earnings from term transformation, and the dynamics of the term structure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 282-289, February.
    5. Maudos, Joaquín & Solís, Liliana, 2009. "The determinants of net interest income in the Mexican banking system: An integrated model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1920-1931, October.
    6. Claessens, Stijn & Coleman, Nicholas & Donnelly, Michael, 2017. ""Low-For-Long� Interest Rates and Banks' Interest Margins and Profitability: Cross-Country Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Ramona Busch & Christoph Memmel, 2016. "Quantifying the components of the banks’ net interest margin," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 30(4), pages 371-396, November.
    8. Bornemann, Sven & Kick, Thomas & Memmel, Christoph & Pfingsten, Andreas, 2012. "Are banks using hidden reserves to beat earnings benchmarks? Evidence from Germany," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 2403-2415.
    9. Maudos, Joaquin & Fernandez de Guevara, Juan, 2004. "Factors explaining the interest margin in the banking sectors of the European Union," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 2259-2281, September.
    10. de Bondt, Gabe, 2002. "Retail bank interest rate pass-through: new evidence at the euro area level," Working Paper Series 136, European Central Bank.
    11. Claessens, Stijn & Coleman, Nicholas & Donnelly, Michael, 2018. "“Low-For-Long” interest rates and banks’ interest margins and profitability: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 35(PA), pages 1-16.
    12. Sven Bornemann & Susanne Homölle & Carsten Hubensack & Thomas Kick & Andreas Pfingsten, 2014. "Visible Reserves in Banks – Determinants of Initial Creation, Usage and Contribution to Bank Stability," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(5-6), pages 507-544, June.
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    14. 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," Discussion 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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    Cited by:

    1. Buchholz, Manuel & Schmidt, Kirsten & Tonzer, Lena, 2017. "Do conventional monetary policy instruments matter in unconventional times?," IWH Discussion Papers 12/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. repec:eee:intfin:v:62:y:2019:i:c:p:152-183 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dombret, Andreas R. & Foos, Daniel & Pliszka, Kamil & Schulz, Alexander, 2019. "What are the real effects of financial market liquidity? Evidence on bank lending from the euro area," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 152-183.
    4. repec:bla:ecaffa:v:37:y:2017:i:2:p:254-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Urbschat, Florian, 2018. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Impact of Negative Interest Rates and QE on the Profitability and Risk-Taking of 1600 German Banks," Discussion Papers in Economics 56535, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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