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Do Depositors Monitor Banks?


  • Rajkamal Iyer
  • Manju Puri
  • Nicholas Ryan


We use unique micro-level depositor data for a bank that faced a run due to a shock to its solvency to study whether depositors monitor banks. Specifically, we examine depositor withdrawal patterns in response to a timeline of private and public signals of the bank's financial health. In response to a public announcement of the bank's financial troubles, we find depositors with uninsured balances, depositors with loan linkages and staff of the bank are far more likely to run. Even before the run, a regulatory audit, which was in principle private information, found the bank insolvent. We find that depositors act on this private information and withdraw in a pecking order beginning at the time of the regulatory audit, with staff moving first, followed by uninsured depositors and finally other depositors. By comparing the response to this fundamental shock with an earlier panic at the same bank, we argue that withdrawals in the fundamental run are due in part to monitoring by depositors though the monitoring appears to be more of regulatory signals rather than of fundamentals. Our results give sharp empirical evidence on the importance of fragility in a bank's capital structure and may inform banking regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajkamal Iyer & Manju Puri & Nicholas Ryan, 2013. "Do Depositors Monitor Banks?," NBER Working Papers 19050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19050
    Note: CF ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Insider bank runs
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-06-25 19:42:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Lambert, Claudia & Noth, Felix & Schüwer, Ulrich, 2017. "How do insured deposits affect bank risk? Evidence from the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 81-102.
    2. Ahmed, Javed I. & Anderson, Christopher W. & Zarutskie, Rebecca, 2015. "Are the Borrowing Costs of Large Financial Firms Unusual?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Carlson, Mark A. & Rose, Jonathan D., 2016. "Can a Bank Run Be Stopped? Government Guarantees and the Run on Continental Illinois," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-3, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Brown, Martin & Guin, Benjamin & Morkoetter, Stefan, 2013. "Deposit Withdrawals from Distressed Commercial Banks: The Importance of Switching Costs," Working Papers on Finance 1319, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Dec 2017.
    5. Guin, Benjamin & Brown, Martin & Morkötter, Stefan, 2015. "Deposit Withdrawals from Distressed Commercial Banks," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113081, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Florian Schaffner, 2015. "Predicting US bank failures with internet search volume data," ECON - Working Papers 214, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Marianna Brunetti & Rocco Ciciretti & Ljubica Djordjevic, 2016. "Till Mortgage Do Us Part: Refinancing Costs and Household’s Bank Switching," CEIS Research Paper 364, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 13 Dec 2017.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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