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Can regulators allow banks to set their own capital ratios?

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  • Cathcart, Lara
  • El-Jahel, Lina
  • Jabbour, Ravel

Abstract

Basel regulators have received widespread criticism for failing to prevent two credit crises that hit the U.S. over the last two decades. Nonetheless, banks were considerably overcapitalized prior to the onset of the 2007–2009 subprime crisis compared to those which had undergone the 1990–1991 recession. Therefore, if capital requirements were achieved prior to the subprime crisis, how could the Basel framework be blamed again for having accelerated if not caused another credit crunch? We find that the answer to this question lies in the relationship between the capital ratio and the leverage ratio which is governed by risk-weights categories determined by the Basel regulation. We show that changes to risk-weight categories which affect the correlation pattern between both ratios are not reflected in the subprime crisis. This minimizes the implication of the Basel II regulation in the crunch that succeeded its announcement, in contrast to Basel I. We demonstrate that these dynamics are governed by a formula linking the two ratios together which derives from the sensitivity of the risk-based capital ratio to a change in its risk-weight(s). One implication of our work regarding the Basel III regulation consists in validating the newly established capital increments in a mathematical rather than heuristical approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Cathcart, Lara & El-Jahel, Lina & Jabbour, Ravel, 2015. "Can regulators allow banks to set their own capital ratios?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 112-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:53:y:2015:i:c:p:112-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2014.11.017
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    Cited by:

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    2. Mohammad Bitar & M. Kabir Hassan & Kuntara Pukthuanthong & Thomas Walker, 2018. "The Performance of Islamic Vs. Conventional Banks: Evidence on the Suitability of the Basel Capital Ratios," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(5), pages 1003-1038, November.
    3. E Philip Davis & Dilruba Karim & Dennison Noel, 2019. "Bank Leverage Ratios, Risk and Competition - An Investigation Using Individual Bank Data," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 499, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    4. Bitar, Mohammad & Kabir Hassan, M. & Hippler, William J., 2018. "The determinants of Islamic bank capital decisions," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 48-68.
    5. Bitar, Mohammad & Hassan, M. Kabir & Walker, Thomas, 2017. "Political systems and the financial soundness of Islamic banks," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 18-44.
    6. Bitar, Mohammad & Saad, Wadad & Benlemlih, Mohammed, 2016. "Bank risk and performance in the MENA region: The importance of capital requirements," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 398-421.
    7. Douglas da Rosa München & Herbert Kimura, 2020. "Regulatory Banking Leverage: what do you know?," Working Papers Series 540, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    8. Bitar, Mohammad & Pukthuanthong, Kuntara & Walker, Thomas, 2018. "The effect of capital ratios on the risk, efficiency and profitability of banks: Evidence from OECD countries," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 227-262.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital ratio; Leverage; Basel;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G29 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Other

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