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Bond market discipline of banks: is the market tough enough?

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  • Donald P. Morgan
  • Kevin J. Stiroh

Abstract

As the banking business grows more complex, government supervisors of banks seem increasingly willing to share the role of policing bank risk with private investors, especially bondholders. This paper investigates the disciplinary role of markets using bond spreads, ratings, and bank portfolio data on over 4,100 new bonds issued between 1993 and 1998, including almost 600 bond issues by banks and bank holding companies. We find that the bond spread/rating relationship is the same for the bank issues as for nonbank issues, especially among the investment grade issues. This suggests that the bond market prices public measures of bank risk efficiently. Investors also look beyond the ratings, as spreads on the bank issues depend on the underlying portfolio of assets and loans. Banks contemplating a shift into riskier activities like trading, for example, can expect to pay higher spreads as a result. That is market discipline. The market, however, appears relatively soft on bigger banks and less transparent banks, pointing to possible slippage in the disciplinary mechanism for banks either considered too big to fail or too hard to understand by the bond market.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald P. Morgan & Kevin J. Stiroh, 1999. "Bond market discipline of banks: is the market tough enough?," Staff Reports 95, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:95
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    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. Hartarska, Valentina M., 2006. "Rating in Microfinance: Cross-Country Evidence," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25506, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Yehning Chen & Iftekhar Hasan, 2011. "Subordinated Debt, Market Discipline, and Bank Risk," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(6), pages 1043-1072, September.
    4. Adam B. Ashcraft & Hoyt Bleakley, 2006. "On the market discipline of informationally opaque firms: evidence from bank borrowers in the federal funds market," Staff Reports 257, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Gropp, Reint & Vesala, Jukka & Vulpes, Giuseppe, 2006. "Equity and Bond Market Signals as Leading Indicators of Bank Fragility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 399-428, March.
    6. Korte, Josef, 2015. "Catharsis—The real effects of bank insolvency and resolution," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 213-231.
    7. Caprio, Gerard & Honohan, Patrick, 2004. "Can the unsophisticated market provide discipline?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3364, The World Bank.
    8. Sironi, Andrea, 2003. " Testing for Market Discipline in the European Banking Industry: Evidence from Subordinated Debt Issues," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 443-472, June.
    9. Douglas D. Evanoff & Larry D. Wall, 2000. "Subordinated debt and bank capital reform," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Kane, Edward J., 2001. "Dynamic inconsistency of capital forbearance: Long-run vs. short-run effects of too-big-to-fail policymaking," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 281-299, August.
    11. Ashcraft, Adam B., 2008. "Does the market discipline banks? New evidence from regulatory capital mix," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 543-561, October.
    12. CĂ©cile Casteuble & Emmanuelle Nys & Philippe Rous, 2013. "Bank Risk - Return Efficiency and Bond Spread: Is There Evidence of Market Discipline in Europe," Working Papers hal-00916717, HAL.
    13. Adam B. Ashcraft, 2006. "Does the market discipline banks? New evidence from the regulatory capital mix," Staff Reports 244, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Greg Caldwell, 2005. "Subordinated Debt and Market Discipline in Canada," Staff Working Papers 05-40, Bank of Canada.
    15. Lang, William W. & Robertson, Douglas D., 2002. "Analysis of proposals for a minimum subordinated debt requirement1," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 115-136.
    16. Robert R. Bliss, 2001. "Market discipline and subordinated debt: a review of some salient issues," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 24-45.
    17. Giuliano Iannotta, 2011. "Market discipline in the banking industry: evidence from spread dispersion," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 111-131.
    18. Donald P. Morgan, 2000. "Rating risks: risk and uncertainty in an opaque industry," Staff Reports 105, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    19. Herring, Richard J., 2004. "The subordinated debt alternative to Basel II," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 137-155, December.
    20. Daniel M. Covitz & Diana Hancock & Myron L. Kwast, 2004. "Market discipline in banking reconsidered: the roles of funding manager decisions and deposit insurance reform," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Elyasiani, Elyas & Keegan, Jason, 2017. "Market Discipline in the Secondary Bond Market: The Case of Systemically Important Banks," Working Papers 17-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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    Keywords

    Bank supervision ; Bonds ; Risk management;

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