IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can banks circumvent minimum capital requirements? The case of mortgage portfolios under Basel II


  • Christopher Henderson
  • Julapa Jagtiani


The recent mortgage crisis has resulted in several bank failures as the number of mortgage defaults increased. The current Basel I capital framework does not require banks to hold sufficient amounts of capital to support their mortgage lending activities. The new Basel II capital rules are intended to correct this problem. However, Basel II models could become too complex and too costly to implement, often resulting in a trade-off between complexity and model accuracy. In addition, the variation of the model, particularly how mortgage portfolios are segmented, could have a significant impact on the default and loss estimated and, thus, could affect the amount of capital that banks are required to hold. This paper finds that the calculated Basel II capital varies considerably across the default prediction model and segmentation schemes, thus providing banks with an incentive to choose an approach that results in the least required capital for them. The authors also find that a more granular segmentation model produces smaller required capital, regardless of the economic environment. In addition, while borrowers' credit risk factors are consistently superior, economic factors have also played a role in mortgage default during the financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Henderson & Julapa Jagtiani, 2010. "Can banks circumvent minimum capital requirements? The case of mortgage portfolios under Basel II," Working Papers 10-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing and the General Equilibrium Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690.
    2. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2009. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 804-826, June.
    3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    4. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, January.
    5. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
    6. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
    7. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 223-250, January.
    8. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226520018 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, August.
    10. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2008. "The Time-Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 604-641, June.
    11. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
    12. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    13. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    14. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
    15. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model: Expanded Version," NBER Working Papers 11417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2008. "How Structural Are Structural Parameters?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 83-137 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 129-162, Winter.
    18. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Comparing solution methods for dynamic equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2477-2508, December.
    19. Burton A. Abrams, 2006. "How Richard Nixon Pressured Arthur Burns: Evidence from the Nixon Tapes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-188, Fall.
    20. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519944 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Hetzel,Robert L., 2008. "The Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521881326, March.
    22. anonymous, 1989. "Money stock data revised," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 508-512.
    23. Robert Wright, 2009. "Inside the Fed: monetary policy and its management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 797-799.
    24. Athanasios Orphanides, 2002. "Monetary-Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 115-120, May.
    25. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
    26. Martin Uribe & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy In A Medium Scale Macro Model," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 476, Society for Computational Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Capital ; Banks and banking ; Basel capital accord;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Beth Paul). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.