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Bank Capital and Lending Behaviour: Empirical Evidence for Italy

  • Leonardo Gambacorta

    ()

    (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

  • Paolo Emilio Mistrulli

    ()

    (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

This paper investigates the existence of cross-sectional differences in the response of lending to monetary policy and GDP shocks owing to a different degree of bank capitalization. The effects on lending of shocks to bank capital that are caused by a specific (higher than 8 per cent) solvency ratio for highly risky banks are also analyzed. The paper adds to the existing literature in three ways. First, it considers a measure of capitalization (the excess capital) that is better able to control for the riskiness of banks� portfolios than the well-known capital-to-asset ratio. Second, it disentangles the effects of the "bank lending channel" from those of the "bank capital channel" in the case of a monetary shock; it also provides an explanation for asymmetric effects of GDP shocks on lending based on the link between bank capital and risk aversion. Third, it uses a unique dataset of quarterly data for Italian banks over the period 1992-2001; the full coverage of banks and the long sample period helps to overcome some distributional bias detected for other available public datasets. The results indicate that well-capitalized banks can better shield their lending from monetary policy shocks as they have easier access to non-deposit fund-raising consistently with the "bank lending channel" hypothesis. A "bank capital channel" is also detected, with stronger effects for cooperative banks that have a larger maturity mismatch. Capitalization also influences the way banks react to GDP shocks. Again, the credit supply of well-capitalized banks is less pro-cyclical. The introduction of a specific solvency ratio for highly risky banks determines an overall reduction in lending.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 486.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_486_03
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