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Bank capital structure and credit decisions

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  • Inderst, Roman
  • Mueller, Holger M.

Abstract

This paper argues that banks must be sufficiently levered to have first-best incentives to make new risky loans. This result, which is at odds with the notion that leverage invariably leads to excessive risk taking, derives from two key premises that focus squarely on the role of banks as informed lenders. First, banks finance projects that they do not own, which implies that they cannot extract all the profits. Second, banks conduct a credit risk analysis before making new loans. Our model may help understand why banks take on additional unsecured debt, such as unsecured deposits and subordinated loans, over and above their existing deposit base. It may also help understand why banks and finance companies have similar leverage ratios, even though the latter are not deposit takers and hence not subject to the same regulatory capital requirements as banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Inderst, Roman & Mueller, Holger M., 2008. "Bank capital structure and credit decisions," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 295-314, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:295-314
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Swamy, Vighneswara, 2014. "Modelling the Impact of New Capital Regulations on Bank Profitability," MPRA Paper 58298, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:eee:mulfin:v:41:y:2017:i:c:p:61-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Eufinger, Christian & Gill, Andrej, 2013. "Basel III and CEO compensation in banks: Pay structures as a regulatory signal," SAFE Working Paper Series 9, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    4. Olivier Bruno & André Cartapanis & Eric Nasica, 2013. "Bank leverage, financial fragility and prudential regulation," Working Papers halshs-00853701, HAL.
    5. repec:spr:weltar:v:154:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10290-017-0294-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Belkhir, Mohamed, 2013. "Do subordinated debt holders discipline bank risk-taking? Evidence from risk management decisions," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 705-719.
    7. Keuschnigg, Christian & Kogler, Michael, 2017. "Schumpeterian Banks: Credit Reallocation and Capital Requirements," Economics Working Paper Series 1704, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    8. Kenneth A. Carow & Valentina Salotti, 2014. "The U.S. Treasury'S Capital Purchase Program: Treasury'S Selectivity And Market Returns Across Weak And Healthy Banks," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 211-241, June.
    9. Goel, Anand M. & Song, Fenghua & Thakor, Anjan V., 2014. "Correlated leverage and its ramifications," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 471-503.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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