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Financial Flexibility and the Cost of External Finance for U.S. Bank Holding Companies


  • Billett, Matthew T
  • Garfinkel, Jon A


This paper models a bank with access to two segmented capital markets, the market for insured deposits and the market for uninsured claims. We illustrate how higher costs of accessing either market leads to lower firm values and a greater incentive to carry liquid assets. We test our model on a sample of large banking firms, and label banks with relatively lower costs of accessing the two markets as more "financially flexible." Our two key findings are (1) banks with greater financial flexibility have greater value, and (2) banks with greater financial flexibility devote a smaller percentage of assets to cash and marketable securities, consistent with the notion that financial flexibility reduces the sensitivity of firm profits to internal wealth shocks, thus reducing the firm's need to carry financial slack.

Suggested Citation

  • Billett, Matthew T & Garfinkel, Jon A, 2004. "Financial Flexibility and the Cost of External Finance for U.S. Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(5), pages 827-852, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:36:y:2004:i:5:p:827-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Donald Morgan & Kevin Stiroh, 2001. "Market Discipline of Banks: The Asset Test," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 195-208, October.
    2. Simon H. Kwan, 1998. "Risk and return of banks' Section 20 securities affiliates," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct23.
    3. Viral V. Acharya & Iftekhar Hasan & Anthony Saunders, 2002. "The effects of focus and diversification on bank risk and return: evidence from individual bank loan portfolios," Proceedings 905, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Saunders, Anthony & Walter, Ingo, 1994. "Universal Banking in the United States: What Could We Gain? What Could We Lose?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195080698.
    5. John H. Boyd & Stanley L. Graham, 1988. "The profitability and risk effects of allowing bank holding companies to merge with other financial firms: a simulation study," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-20.
    6. DeYoung, Robert & Roland, Karin P., 2001. "Product Mix and Earnings Volatility at Commercial Banks: Evidence from a Degree of Total Leverage Model," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 54-84, January.
    7. John H. Boyd & Stanley L. Graham, 1988. "The profitability and risk effects of allowing bank holding companies to merge with other financial firms: a simulation study," Proceedings 213, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Lawrence J. Radecki, 1999. "Banks' payments-driven revenues," Staff Reports 62, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    9. Houston, Joel F. & Ryngaert, Michael D., 1994. "The overall gains from large bank mergers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1155-1176, December.
    10. DeLong, Gayle L., 2001. "Stockholder gains from focusing versus diversifying bank mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 221-252, February.
    11. Andrew P. Meyer & Timothy J. Yeager, 2001. "Are small rural banks vulnerable to local economic downturns?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 25-38.
    12. Rose, Peter S, 1989. "Diversification of the Banking Firm," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 24(2), pages 251-280, May.
    13. Cara S. Lown & Carol L. Osler & Philip E. Strahan & Amir Sufi, 2000. "The changing landscape of the financial services industry: what lies ahead?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 39-54.
    14. Boyd, John H. & Graham, Stanley L. & Hewitt, R. Shawn, 1993. "Bank holding company mergers with nonbank financial firms: Effects on the risk of failure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 43-63, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. S. Demiralp & J. Eisenschmidt & T. Vlassopoulos, 2017. "Negative interest rates, excess liquidity and bank business models: Banks’ reaction to unconventional monetary policy in the euro area," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1708, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    2. Garfinkel, Jon A. & Hankins, Kristine Watson, 2011. "The role of risk management in mergers and merger waves," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 515-532, September.
    3. Mierzejewski, Fernando, 2008. "The optimal liquidity principle with restricted borrowing," MPRA Paper 12549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin & Chris Florackis & Aydin Ozkan, 2014. "Financial flexibility, corporate investment and performance: evidence from financial crises," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 211-250, February.
    5. Huang, R. & Ratnovksi, L., 2009. "The Dark Side of Bank Wholesale Funding," Discussion Paper 2009-59 S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Valeriya Dinger & Jürgen Von Hagen, 2009. "Does Interbank Borrowing Reduce Bank Risk?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 491-506, March.
    7. Thomas J. Carter, 2017. "Optimal Interbank Regulation," Staff Working Papers 17-48, Bank of Canada.
    8. Rudd, John M. & Greenley, Gordon E. & Beatson, Amanda T. & Lings, Ian N., 2008. "Strategic planning and performance: Extending the debate," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 99-108, February.
    9. Benoît D'Udekem, 2014. "Bank Cash Holdings and Investor Uncertainty," Working Papers CEB 14-002, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    10. Laktionova Oleksandra A., 2014. "Financial Flexibility as a Phenomenon of Manifestation of Flexibility of the Financial System at the Micro-level," Business Inform, RESEARCH CENTRE FOR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS of NAS (KHARKIV, UKRAINE), Kharkiv National University of Economics, issue 3, pages 301-310.

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