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Did Mergers Help Japanese Mega-Banks Avoid Failure? Analysis of the Distance to Default of Banks

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  • Kimie Harada
  • Takatoshi Ito

Abstract

In the late 1990s, several large Japanese banks failed for the first time in its postwar history. As the financial environment was deteriorating further, several remaining banks decided to merge among themselves, presumably, to make their operations more efficient to avoid failures. This paper defines, calculates and analyzes the distance to default (DD), a concept of credit risk in corporate finance, of Japanese large banks. The DD helps us to answer a question whether mergers in the late 1990s and 2000s made the merged banks financially more robust as intended. The novelty of the paper is to develop a method of analyzing the DD for banks that experience a merger, and to apply the method to the Japanese banking data. Our findings include: (1) A merged bank fundamentally inherits financial soundness of pre-merged banks, without adding special value from the merger. A merger of sound (unsound) banks produced a sound (unsound, respectively) merged financial institution; and (2) In some cases, a merged bank experienced a negative DD right after the merger. The findings are consistent with a view that a primary objective of a merger was to take advantage of the perceived too-big-to-fail policy, rather than to pursue a radical reform. Another interpretation is that mergers with intention of enhancing efficiency resulted in failed implementation of true operational efficiency, such as quick integration of computer operation systems and elimination of duplicating branches.

Suggested Citation

  • Kimie Harada & Takatoshi Ito, 2008. "Did Mergers Help Japanese Mega-Banks Avoid Failure? Analysis of the Distance to Default of Banks," NBER Working Papers 14518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14518
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Sichong, 2013. "How do leverage ratios affect bank share performance during financial crises: The Japanese experience of the late 1990s," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 1-18.
    2. Mariassunta Giannetti & Andrei Simonov, 2013. "On the Real Effects of Bank Bailouts: Micro Evidence from Japan," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 135-167, January.
    3. George Halkos & Roman Matousek & Nickolaos Tzeremes, 2016. "Pre-evaluating technical efficiency gains from possible mergers and acquisitions: evidence from Japanese regional banks," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 47-77, January.
    4. Asish Saha & Nor Hayati Ahmad & Lim Hick Eam & Siew Goh Yeok, 2019. "Assessing Bank Stability in Malaysia in the Framework of Distance to Default," Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance (AAMJAF), Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, vol. 15(2), pages 1-27.
    5. Saldías, Martín, 2013. "Systemic risk analysis using forward-looking Distance-to-Default series," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 498-517.
    6. Martín Saldías, 2012. "Systemic risk analysis and option-based theory and information," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles and Banco de Portugal Economic Studies, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    7. Nakashima, Kiyotaka, 2016. "An econometric evaluation of bank recapitalization programs with bank- and loan-level data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-24.
    8. Mamatzakis, Emmanuel & Matousek, Roman & Vu, Anh Nguyet, 2016. "What is the impact of bankrupt and restructured loans on Japanese bank efficiency?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 187-202.
    9. George E. Halkos & Roman Matousek & Nickolaos G. Tzeremes, 2016. "Pre-evaluating technical efficiency gains from possible mergers and acquisitions: evidence from Japanese regional banks," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 47-77, January.
    10. Kiyotaka Nakashima & Masahiko Shibamoto & Koji Takahashi, 2017. "Risk-Taking Channel of Unconventional Monetary Policies in Bank Lending," Discussion Paper Series DP2017-24, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Apr 2019.
    11. Singh, Manish K. & Gómez-Puig, Marta & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón, 2015. "Bank risk behavior and connectedness in EMU countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 161-184.
    12. Besstremyannaya, Galina, 2017. "Heterogeneous effect of the global financial crisis and the Great East Japan Earthquake on costs of Japanese banks," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 66-89.
    13. Ion Lapteacru, 2016. "Income and funding structures, banking regulation and bank risk-taking: The role of ownership in Central and Eastern European banks," Working Papers hal-01301825, HAL.
    14. Harada, Kimie & Ito, Takatoshi & Takahashi, Shuhei, 2013. "Is the Distance to Default a good measure in predicting bank failures? A case study of Japanese major banks," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 70-82.
    15. Heather Montgomery & Yuki Takahashi, 2018. "Effect of Bank Mergers on Client Firms: Evidence from the Credit Supply Channel," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 69(4), pages 438-449, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • G19 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Other
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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