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The Effects of Bank Capital on Lending: What Do We Know, and What Does It Mean?

  • Jose M. Berrospide

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Rochelle M. Edge

    (Federal Reserve Board)

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    The effect of bank capital on lending is a critical determinant of the linkage between financial conditions and real activity, and has received especial attention in the recent financial crisis. We use panel regression techniques—following Bernanke and Lown (1991) and Hancock and Wilcox (1993, 1994)—to study the lending of large bank holding companies (BHCs) and find small effects of capital on lending. We then consider the effect of capital ratios on lending using a variant of Lown and Morgan’s (2006) VAR model, and again find modest effects of bank capital ratio changes on lending. These results are in marked contrast to estimates obtained using simple empirical relations between aggregate commercial bank assets and leverage growth, which have recently been very influential in shaping forecasters’ and policymakers’ views regarding the effects of bank capital on loan growth. Our estimated models are then used to understand recent developments in bank lending and, in particular, to consider the role of TARP-related capital injections in affecting these developments.

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    Article provided by International Journal of Central Banking in its journal International Journal of Central Banking.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 34 (December)
    Pages: 1-50

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    Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2010:q:4:a:2
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    1. Puri, Manju & Rocholl, Jörg & Steffen, Sascha, 2011. "Global retail lending in the aftermath of the US financial crisis: Distinguishing between supply and demand effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 556-578, June.
    2. Marcella Lucchetta & Gianni De Nicoló, 2010. "Systemic Risks and the Macroeconomy," IMF Working Papers 10/29, International Monetary Fund.
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