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Bank Leverage and Monetary Policy's Risk-Taking Channel; Evidence from the United States

  • Giovanni Dell'Ariccia
  • Luc Laeven
  • Gustavo Suarez

We present evidence of a risk-taking channel of monetary policy for the U.S. banking system. We use confidential data on the internal ratings of U.S. banks on loans to businesses over the period 1997 to 2011 from the Federal Reserve’s survey of terms of business lending. We find that ex-ante risk taking by banks (as measured by the risk rating of the bank’s loan portfolio) is negatively associated with increases in short-term policy interest rates. This relationship is less pronounced for banks with relatively low capital or during periods when banks’ capital erodes, such as episodes of financial and economic distress. These results contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of monetary policy in financial stability and suggest that monetary policy has a bearing on the riskiness of banks and financial stability more generally.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/143.

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Length: 41
Date of creation: 06 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/143
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  1. Claudio Borio & Haibin Zhu, 2008. "Capital regulation, risk-taking and monetary policy: a missing link in the transmission mechanism?," BIS Working Papers 268, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Repullo, Rafael, 2004. "Capital requirements, market power, and risk-taking in banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 156-182, April.
  3. Jeremy C. Stein, 2012. "Monetary Policy as Financial Stability Regulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 57-95.
  4. 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.
  5. Allen N. Berger & Anil K. Kashyap & Joseph M. Scalise, 1995. "The Transformation of the U.S. Banking Industry: What a Long, Strange Trips It's Been," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 55-218.
  6. Angela Maddaloni & Jose-Luis Peydro, 2011. "Bank Risk-taking, Securitization, Supervision, and Low Interest Rates: Evidence from the Euro-area and the U.S. Lending Standards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2121-2165.
  7. 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.
  8. Altunbas, Yener & Gambacorta, Leonardo & Marqués-Ibáñez, David, 2010. "Does monetary policy affect bank risk-taking?," Working Paper Series 1166, European Central Bank.
  9. Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Tito Cordella, 1999. "Bank Bailouts; Moral Hazard vs. Value Effect," IMF Working Papers 99/106, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Xavier Freixas & Antoine Martin & David Skeie, 2009. "Bank liquidity, interbank markets, and monetary policy," Staff Reports 371, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Claudia M. Buch & Sandra Eickmeier & Esteban Prieto, 2011. "In Search for Yield? New Survey-Based Evidence on Bank Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 3375, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Acharya, Viral & Naqvi, Hassan, 2012. "The seeds of a crisis: A theory of bank liquidity and risk taking over the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 349-366.
  13. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
  14. Donald Morgan & Adam Ashcraft, 2003. "Using Loan Rates to Measure and Regulate Bank Risk: Findings and an Immodest Proposal," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 181-200, October.
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