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Procyclicality and Bank Portfolio Risk Level under a Constant Leverage Ratio


  • Olivier Bruno

    University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France)

  • Alexandra Girod



We investigate the impact the risk sensitive regulatory ratio may have on banks' risk taking behaviours during the business cycle. We show that the risk sensitivity of capital requirements introduce by Basel II adds either an "equity surplus" or an "equity deficit" on a bank that owns a fixed capital endowment and a constant leverage ratio. Depending on the magnitude of cyclical variations into requirements, the "surplus" may be exploited by the bank to increase its value toward the selection of a riskier asset or the "deficit" may restrict the bank to opt for a less risky asset. Whether the optimal asset risk level swings among classes of risk through the cycle, the risk level of bank's portfolio may increase during economic upturns, or decrease in downturns, leading to a rise in financial fragility or a "fly to quality" phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Bruno & Alexandra Girod, 2013. "Procyclicality and Bank Portfolio Risk Level under a Constant Leverage Ratio," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-35, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2013-35
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heid, Frank, 2007. "The cyclical effects of the Basel II capital requirements," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 3885-3900, December.
    2. Chiara Pederzoli & Costanza Torricelli & Dimitrios Tsomocos, 2010. "Rating systems, procyclicality and Basel II: an evaluation in a general equilibrium framework," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 33-49, January.
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    5. Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 2004. "Loan pricing under Basel capital requirements," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 496-521, October.
    6. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2010. "The Changing Nature of Financial Intermediation and the Financial Crisis of 2007–2009," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 603-618, September.
    7. Leland, Hayne E & Toft, Klaus Bjerre, 1996. " Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 987-1019, July.
    8. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
    9. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2010. "The changing nature of financial intermediation and the financial crisis of 2007-09," Staff Reports 439, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Jeitschko, Thomas D. & Jeung, Shin Dong, 2005. "Incentives for risk-taking in banking - A unified approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 759-777, March.
    11. HyunSong Shin, 2009. "Securitisation and Financial Stability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 309-332, March.
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    More about this item


    Bank capital; Basel capital accord; risk incentive;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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