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Are banks forward-looking in their loan loss provisioning? Evidence from the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS)

  • Lakshmi Balasubramanyan
  • James B. Thomson
  • Saeed Zaman

The purpose of this study is to empirically analyze if loan loss provisioning is forward-looking. Using a confidential dataset that directly helps us identify loan demand and loan supply at the bank level, we test if the banks’ provisioning behavior is different before and after the crisis. We find, for the entire sample of banks, loan loss provisioning is forward-looking and statistically significant in the post-crisis period. Our results show that the top quartiles of banks in our dataset exhibit a forward-looking approach to loan loss provisioning both in the pre- and post-crisis period. From a policy perspective, the top quartile of banks in our sample is engaged in forward-looking loan loss provisioning. From an accounting stance, this may be suggestive of the largest banks being more engaged in earnings management and income smoothing than the smallest banks in our sample. However, from the banking regulation perspective, implementing forwardlooking loan loss provisioning is economically intuitive and will help build a countercyclical buffer, thereby strengthening bank balance sheets.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1313.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1313
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  1. PEEK Joe & M.B. TOOTELL Geoffrey & ROSENGREN Eric S., . "Identifying the Macroeconomic Effect of Loan Supply Shocks," EcoMod2003 330700118, EcoMod.
  2. Eliana Balla & Morgan J. Rose, 2011. "Loan loss reserves, accounting constraints, and bank ownership structure," Working Paper 11-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  3. Lown, Cara & Morgan, Donald P., 2004. "The Credit Cycle and the Business Cycle: New Findings Using the Loan Officer Opinion Survey," SIFR Research Report Series 27, Institute for Financial Research.
  4. Eliana Balla & Andrew McKenna, 2009. "Dynamic provisioning: a countercyclical tool for loan loss reserves," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 383-418.
  5. Laeven, Luc & Majnoni, Giovanni, 2003. "Loan loss provisioning and economic slowdowns: too much, too late?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 178-197, April.
  6. Eliana Balla & Morgan J. Rose & Jessica Sackett Romero, 2012. "Loan loss reserve accounting and bank behavior," Richmond Fed Economic Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Mar.
  7. Ahmed, Anwer S. & Takeda, Carolyn & Thomas, Shawn, 1999. "Bank loan loss provisions: a reexamination of capital management, earnings management and signaling effects," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-25, November.
  8. William F. Bassett & Mary Beth Chosak & John C. Driscoll & Egon Zakrajsek, 2012. "Changes in bank lending standards and the macroeconomy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 1999. "Is bank supervision central to central banking?," Working Papers 99-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  10. José L. Fillat & Judit Montoriol-Garriga, 2010. "Addressing the pro-cyclicality of capital requirements with a dynamic loan loss provision system," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU10-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Ben S. Bernanke & Cara S. Lown, 1991. "The Credit Crunch," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 205-248.
  12. Kishan, Ruby P & Opiela, Timothy P, 2000. "Bank Size, Bank Capital, and the Bank Lending Channel," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(1), pages 121-41, February.
  13. Peek, Joe & Rosengren, Eric, 1995. "Bank regulation and the credit crunch," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 679-692, June.
  14. Jeremy C. Stein & Anil K. Kashyap, 2000. "What Do a Million Observations on Banks Say about the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 407-428, June.
  15. Kishan, Ruby P. & Opiela, Timothy P., 2006. "Bank capital and loan asymmetry in the transmission of monetary policy," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 259-285, January.
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