IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Foreign banks, corporate strategy and financial stability: lessons from the river plate


  • Michael Brei

    (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Carlos Winograd

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris)


This paper analyzes the risk taking of branches and subsidiaries of international bank holding institutions from the perspective of host country regulators in two Latin American financial systems: Argentina and Uruguay. Using both theory and empirics, we analyze differences in the risk attitudes of these institutions in the run up to the major financial crises of 2001-02. The empirical part of this paper is based on a rich bank-level dataset on corporate structures, balance sheets, and ownership of banks. We find that foreign banks branches have taken on fewer risks than subsidiaries and relate this to differences in the legal responsibility of parent banks. This research not only shows original results concerning banks corporate strategies in the face of country risk, but also contributes to the debate on appropriate banking regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Brei & Carlos Winograd, 2012. "Foreign banks, corporate strategy and financial stability: lessons from the river plate," PSE Working Papers halshs-00703738, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00703738
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yener Altunbas & Leonardo Gambacorta & David Marques-Ibanez, 2010. "Does monetary policy affect bank risk-taking?," BIS Working Papers 298, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Tabak, Benjamin M. & Fazio, Dimas M. & Cajueiro, Daniel O., 2011. "The effects of loan portfolio concentration on Brazilian banks' return and risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3065-3076, November.
    3. Charles Kahn & Andrew Winton, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Optimal Subsidiary Structure for Financial Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2531-2575, December.
    4. Calzolari, Giacomo & Loranth, Gyongyi, 2011. "Regulation of multinational banks: A theoretical inquiry," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 178-198, April.
    5. Cerasi, Vittoria & Daltung, Sonja, 2000. "The optimal size of a bank: Costs and benefits of diversification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1701-1726, October.
    6. Hamid Mehran, 2011. "Bank Capital and Value in the Cross-Section," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 1019-1067.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    8. Gyongyi Loranth & Alan Morrison, 2003. "Multinational Bank Capital Regulation with Deposit Insurance and Diversification Effects," OFRC Working Papers Series 2003fe11, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
    9. Boot, Arnoud W. A. & Schmeits, Anjolein, 2000. "Market Discipline and Incentive Problems in Conglomerate Firms with Applications to Banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 240-273, July.
    10. Cerutti, Eugenio & Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2007. "How banks go abroad: Branches or subsidiaries?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1669-1692, June.
    11. Allen, Franklin, 1990. "The market for information and the origin of financial intermediation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-30, March.
    12. Vicente Salas & Jesús Saurina, 2002. "Credit Risk in Two Institutional Regimes: Spanish Commercial and Savings Banks," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 22(3), pages 203-224, December.
    13. Charles W. Calomiris & Andrew Powell, 2000. "Can Emerging Market Bank Regulators Establish Credible Discipline? The Case of Argentina, 1992-1999," NBER Working Papers 7715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Adolfo Barajas & Emiliano Basco & V Hugo Juan-Ramón & Carlos Quarracino, 2007. "Banks During the Argentine Crisis: Were They All Hurt Equally? Did They All Behave Equally?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(4), pages 621-662, November.
    15. Buiter, Willem H., 2008. "Central banks and financial crises," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 495-633.
    16. Calem, Paul & Rob, Rafael, 1999. "The Impact of Capital-Based Regulation on Bank Risk-Taking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 317-352, October.
    17. Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Marquez, Robert, 2006. "Competition among regulators and credit market integration," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 401-430, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Financial Crises; Argentina; Uruguay; Bank Corporate;

    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:hal:psewpa:halshs-00703738. 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: (CCSD). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.