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Financial integration, specialization and systemic risk

  • Fecht, Falko
  • Grüner, Hans Peter
  • Hartmann, Philipp

This paper studies the implications of cross-border financial integration for financial stability when banks' loan portfolios adjust endogenously. Banks can be subject to sectoral and aggregate domestic shocks. After integration they can share these risks in a complete interbank market. When banks have a comparative advantage in providing credit to certain industries, financial integration may induce banks to specialize in lending. An enhanced concentration in lending does not necessarily increase risk, because a well-functioning interbank market allows to achieve the necessary diversification. This greater need for risk sharing, though, increases the risk of cross-border contagion and the likelihood of widespread banking crises. However, even though integration increases the risk of contagion it improves welfare if it permits banks to realize specialization benefits. JEL Classification: D61, E44, G21

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1425.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121425
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