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The role of supervisory screens and econometric models in off-site surveillance


  • R. Alton Gilbert
  • Andrew P. Meyer
  • Mark D. Vaughan


Off-site surveillance involves using financial ratios to identify banks likely to develop safety-and-soundness problems. Bank supervisors use two tools to flag developing problems: supervisory screens and econometric models. Despite the statistical dominance of models, supervisors continue to rely heavily on screens. We use data from the 1980s and 1990s to compare, once again, the performance of the two approaches to off-site surveillance. Our study explicitly addresses supervisors' criticisms of econometric models. In particular, we offer a new econometric model - one designed to forecast downgrades in supervisory ratings - that is more forward-looking than existing models. As in earlier comparisons, econometric models consistently outperform supervisory screens for our sample. These results do not, however, suggest that screens should be dropped from the surveillance toolbox. When abrupt changes in the causes of bank failures and CAMEL downgrades occur, supervisors can modify their screens long before models can be revised to reflect the new conditions. We conclude that both screens and models add value in off-site surveillance, but that supervisors should rely more heavily on econometric models in the future than they have in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Alton Gilbert & Andrew P. Meyer & Mark D. Vaughan, 1999. "The role of supervisory screens and econometric models in off-site surveillance," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 31-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:1999:i:nov:p:31-56:n:v.81no.6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernanke, Ben S, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, February.
    2. Michael T. Belongia & R. Alton Gilbert, 1990. "The Effects of Management Decisions on Agricultural Bank Failures," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(4), pages 901-910.
    3. Cannella Jr., Albert A. & Fraser, Donald R. & Lee, D. Scott, 1995. "Firm failure and managerial labor markets Evidence from Texas banking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 185-210, June.
    4. Mark J. Flannery, 1982. "Deposit insurance creates a need for bank regulation," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jan/Feb, pages 17-31.
    5. Kevin L. Kliesen & R. Alton Gilbert, 1996. "Are some agricultural banks too agricultural?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 23-36.
    6. Belongia, Michael T. & Gilbert, R. Alton, 1989. "Effects Of Management Decisions On Agricultural Bank Failures," Proceedings: 1989 Regional Committee NC-161, October 2-3, 1989, St.Louis, Missouri 127409, Regional Research Committee NC-1014: Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kolari, James & Glennon, Dennis & Shin, Hwan & Caputo, Michele, 2002. "Predicting large US commercial bank failures," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 361-387.
    2. Douglas Evanoff & Larry Wall, 2001. "Sub-debt Yield Spreads as Bank Risk Measures," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 121-145, October.
    3. Gropp, Reint & Vesala, Jukka & Vulpes, Giuseppe, 2006. "Equity and Bond Market Signals as Leading Indicators of Bank Fragility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 399-428, March.
    4. Pedro Elosegui & Anne P. Villamil, 2007. "Risky Banking and Credit Rationing," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(49), pages 33-64, October -.
    5. John R. Hall & Thomas B. King & Andrew P. Meyer & Mark D. Vaughan, 2002. "Do jumbo-CD holders care about anything?," Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 2002-05, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Thomas B. King & Daniel A. Nuxoll & Timothy J. Yeager, 2006. "Are the causes of bank distress changing? can researchers keep up?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 57-80.
    7. Julapa Jagtiani & James Kolari & Catharine Lemieux & G. Hwan Shin, 2003. "Early warning models for bank supervision: Simpler could be better," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 49-60.
    8. R. Alton Gilbert & Andrew P. Meyer & Mark D. Vaughan, 2000. "The role of a CAMEL downgrade model in bank surveillance," Working Papers 2000-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Elosegui, Pedro Luis, 2003. "Aggregate risk, credit rationing and capital accumulation," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 668-696.
    10. R. Alton Gilbert & Andrew P. Meyer & Mark D. Vaughan, 2002. "Could a CAMELS downgrade model improve off-site surveillance?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan., pages 47-63.
    11. John S. Jordan & Eric S. Rosengren, 2002. "Economic cycles and bank health," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    12. Dunn, Jessica Kay & Intintoli, Vincent J. & McNutt, Jamie John, 2015. "An examination of non-government-assisted US commercial bank mergers during the financial crisis," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 16-41.

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    Econometric models ; Bank supervision;


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