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Heterogeneity in Bank Leverage: the Funding Channels of Complexity


  • Matthieu Bussière
  • Baptiste Meunier
  • Justine Pedrono


This paper assesses the net impact of complexity on leverage, at the Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) level using unique French supervisory data from 2010 to 2017. Geographical and structural complexity introduce diversification benefits and agency problems that affect the risk of BHCs. Whether investors price this risk or not is decisive for the cost of equity and finally leverage. Our results show a negative impact of complexity on leverage. To explain this result, we then focus on the funding channels of complexity. We find that complexity goes hand in hand with additional capital surplus and increasing cost of equity. As a second major finding, our results show that the impact of complexity on leverage and the funding channels of complexity are heterogeneous across BHCs and depend on their systemic status. In fact, size, complexity and systemic status complement each other. Omitting one of these dimensions leads to misleading conclusions on bank stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthieu Bussière & Baptiste Meunier & Justine Pedrono, 2020. "Heterogeneity in Bank Leverage: the Funding Channels of Complexity," Working papers 771, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:771

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Acharya, Viral & Anginer, Deniz & Warburton, Joe, 2016. "The End of Market Discipline? Investor Expectations of Implicit Government Guarantees," MPRA Paper 79700, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia M. Buch & Linda S. Goldberg, 2021. "Complexity and Riskiness of Banking Organizations: Evidence from the International Banking Research Network," Staff Reports 966, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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    More about this item


    bank; complexity; risk; capital structure; leverage; cost of equity; funding cost; capital requirements.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F65 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Finance
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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