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The role of relative performance in bank closure decisions

  • Kenneth Kasa
  • Mark M. Spiegel

This paper studies a banking industry subject to common and idiosyncratic shocks. We compare two types of regulatory closure rules: (1) an “absolute closure rule,” which closes banks when their asset–liability ratios fall below a given threshold, and (2) a “relative closure rule,” which closes banks when their asset–liability ratios fall sufficiently below the industry average. There are two main results: First, relative closure rules imply forbearance during “bad times,” defined as adverse realizations of the common shock. This forbearance occurs for incentive reasons, not because of irreversibilities or political economy considerations. Second, relative closure rules are less costly to taxpayers, and these savings increase with the relative variance of the common shock. To evaluate the model, we estimate a panel-logit regression using a sample of U.S. commercial banks. We find strong evidence that U.S. bank closures are based on relative performance. Individual and average asset-liability ratios are both significant predictors of bank closure.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2008)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 17-29

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:2008:p:17-29
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  1. Fries, Steven & Mella-Barral, Pierre & Perraudin, William, 1997. "Optimal bank reorganization and the fair pricing of deposit guarantees," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 441-468, April.
  2. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giammarino, Ronald M & Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1993. " An Incentive Approach to Banking Regulation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1523-42, September.
  4. Mailath George J. & Mester Loretta J., 1994. "A Positive Analysis of Bank Closure," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 272-299, June.
  5. Mark E. Levonian, 1991. "What happens if banks are closed "early"?," Proceedings 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Nagarajan, S. & Sealey, C.W., 1993. "Forbearance, Deposit Insurance Pricing, and Incentive Compatible Bank Regulation," Papers 93-05, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  7. Nagarajan, S. & Sealey, C. W., 1998. "State-contingent regulatory mechanisms and fairly priced deposit insurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1139-1156, September.
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