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Loan loss provisioning and income smoothing in US banks pre and post the financial crisis

  • El Sood, Heba Abou
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    Prior research shows that banks have strong incentives to use loan loss provisions to smooth income. Using a sample of 878 US bank holding companies over the period 2001–2009, I find strong evidence of income smoothing behavior. Additionally, bank holding companies accelerate loan loss provisions to smooth income when (1) banks hit the regulatory minimum target, (2) are in non-recessionary periods, and (3) are more profitable. I also find that bank internally set regulatory capital ratios are relatively more significant than regulatory‐set ratios to trigger income smoothing behaviour using loan loss provisions. Comparing the pre-crisis boom of 2002–2006 with the crisis period of 2007–2009, I find that banks use loan loss provisions more extensively during the crisis period to smooth income upward. Collectively, the results of this paper are relevant to current concerns of accounting standard setters and bank regulators on the current model of loan loss provisioning.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521912000609
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Financial Analysis.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 64-72

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:25:y:2012:i:c:p:64-72
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irfa.2012.06.007
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620166

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    1. Allen N. Berger & Robert DeYoung & Mark J. Flannery & David Lee & Ozde Oztekin, 2008. "How do large banking organizations manage their capital ratio?," Research Working Paper RWP 08-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    2. J.A. Bikker & P.A.J. Metzemakers, 2002. "Bank provisioning behaviour and procyclicality," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 50, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
    3. Richard Rivard & Eugene Bland & Gay Hatfield Morris, 2003. "Income smoothing behavior of U.S. banks under revised international capital requirements," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 9(4), pages 288-294, November.
    4. Moyer, Susan E., 1990. "Capital adequacy ratio regulations and accounting choices in commercial banks," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 123-154, July.
    5. Seok Weon Lee, 2002. "Insider Ownership and Risk-taking Behaviour at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(7&8), pages 989-1005.
    6. repec:kap:iaecre:v:9:y:2003:i:4:p:288-294 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Shrieves, Ronald E. & Dahl, Drew, 2003. "Discretionary accounting and the behavior of Japanese banks under financial duress," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1219-1243, July.
    8. Ahmed, Anwer S. & Takeda, Carolyn & Thomas, Shawn, 1999. "Bank loan loss provisions: a reexamination of capital management, earnings management and signaling effects," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-25, November.
    9. Luc Laeven & Giovanni Majnoni, 2002. "Loan loss provisioning and economic slowdowns: too much too late?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    10. Kishan, Ruby P. & Opiela, Timothy P., 2006. "Bank capital and loan asymmetry in the transmission of monetary policy," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 259-285, January.
    11. Gropp, Reint & Köhler, Matthias, 2010. "Bank owners or bank managers: who is keen on risk? Evidence from the financial crisis," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-013, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    12. Kanagaretnam, Kiridaran & Lobo, Gerald J & Mathieu, Robert, 2003. "Managerial Incentives for Income Smoothing through Bank Loan Loss Provisions," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 63-80, January.
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