IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • Kimie Harada
  • Takatoshi Ito

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14518.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Harada, Kimie & Ito, Takatoshi, 2011. "Did mergers help Japanese mega-banks avoid failure? Analysis of the distance to default of banks," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-22, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14518
Note: IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas F. Cargill & Michael M. Hutchison & Takatoshi Ito, 1997. "The Political Economy of Japanese Monetary Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032473, June.
  2. Reint Gropp & Marco Lo Duca & Jukka Vesala, 2009. "Cross-Border Bank Contagion in Europe," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(1), pages 97-139, March.
  3. Reint Gropp & Jukka M. Vesala & Giuseppe Vulpes, 2002. "Equity and bond market signals as leading indicators of bank fragility," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Srobona Mitra & Elena Duggar, 2007. "External Linkages and Contagion Risk in Irish Banks," IMF Working Papers 07/44, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Kaoru Hosono & Koji Sakai & Kotaro Tsuru, 2007. "Consolidation of Banks in Japan: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 13399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Takatoshi Ito & Kimie Harada, 2000. "Japan Premium and Stock Prices: Two Mirrors of Japanese Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 7997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mark M. Spiegel & Nobuyoshi Yamori, 2004. "The Evolution Of Bank Resolution Policies In Japan: Evidence From Market Equity Values," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 27(1), pages 115-132.
  8. Hirota, Shin'ichi & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 1999. "Do banks diversify portfolio risk? A test of the risk-cost hypothesis," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 29-39, January.
  9. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Hoshi, Takeo & Ito, Takatoshi, 2004. "Financial regulation in Japan: a sixth year review of the Financial Services Agency," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 229-243, December.
  11. Darrel Duffie & Leandro Saita & Ke Wang, 2005. "Multi-Period Corporate Default Prediction With Stochastic Covariates," CARF F-Series CARF-F-047, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  12. Calomiris, Charles W., 1999. "Gauging the efficiency of bank consolidation during a merger wave," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2-4), pages 615-621, February.
  13. Arnaud Jobert & Janet Kong & Jorge A. Chan-Lau, 2004. "An Option-Based Approach to Bank Vulnerabilities in Emerging Markets," IMF Working Papers 04/33, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Gianni De Nicoló & Alexander F. Tieman, 2006. "Economic Integration and Financial Stability: A European Perspective," IMF Working Papers 06/296, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Amadou N. R. Sy & Jorge A. Chan-Lau, 2006. "Distance-to-Default in Banking: A Bridge Too Far?," IMF Working Papers 06/215, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Yoichi Ueno & Naohiko Baba, 2006. "Default Intensity and Expected Recovery of Japanese Banks and "Government": New Evidence from the CDS Market," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 06-E-4, Bank of Japan.
  17. Jorge A. Chan-Lau & Srobona Mitra & Li L. Ong, 2007. "Contagion Risk in the International Banking System and Implications for London As a Global Financial Center," IMF Working Papers 07/74, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  19. repec:aei:rpbook:52649 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14518. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.