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Financial Sector Profitability and Double-Gearing


  • Mitsuhiro Fukao


In this paper, I show that Japan will not be able to have a viable banking sector without stopping deflation. The banking industry has not shown a profit since fiscal 1993 (ended March 1994) if one excludes capital gains from stock and real estate portfolios. I quantify the financial condition of the sector and show that interest margins have been too low to cover the increase in loan losses brought about by the weak economy. Banks cannot raise margins for several reasons: competition with subsidized government sponsored financial institutions (GFIs); intense political pressure, backed by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), to make new loans to small and medium companies; and deflation-weakened borrowers. I expect that the Japanese government will have to nationalize most of the banking sector by 2005. Capital injections will not solve the problems. Established Japanese life insurance companies are also troubled because they over-promised the amount that they could pay. This can be corrected through a reorganization where the promised interest rates are cut. But this is complicated because Japanese banks and life insurance companies are providing each other capital a practice called double-gearing. Weakened banks ask insurance companies to provide equity capital and subordinated loans. In return, the mutual life insurers ask banks to subscribe their surplus notes (similar to non-voting redeemable preferred shares) and subordinated debt. The risks of double-gearing are analyzed.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitsuhiro Fukao, 2002. "Financial Sector Profitability and Double-Gearing," NBER Working Papers 9368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9368
    Note: CF ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap, 2000. "The Japanese Banking Crisis: Where Did It Come From and How Will It End?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 129-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Imai, Masami & Takarabe, Seitaro, 2011. "Transmission of liquidity shock to bank credit: Evidence from the deposit insurance reform in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 143-156, June.
    2. Hoshi, Takeo & Kashyap, Anil K, 2010. "Will the U.S. bank recapitalization succeed? Eight lessons from Japan," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 398-417, September.
    3. Imai, Masami, 2006. "Market discipline and deposit insurance reform in Japan," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3433-3452, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Hirakata, Naohisa & Sudo, Nao & Takei, Ikuo & Ueda, Kozo, 2016. "Japan's financial crises and lost decades," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 31-46.
    6. Robert Dekle, 2003. "The Deteriorating Fiscal Situation and an Aging Population," NBER Chapters,in: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan, pages 71-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Imai, Masami, 2007. "The emergence of market monitoring in Japanese banks: Evidence from the subordinated debt market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1441-1460, May.
    8. Hakenes, Hendrik & Schnabel, Isabel, 2010. "Banks without parachutes: Competitive effects of government bail-out policies," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 156-168, September.
    9. Nelson, Benjamin & Tanaka, Misa, 2014. "Dealing with a banking crisis: what lessons can be learned from Japan’s experience?," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 54(1), pages 36-48.
    10. Nakashima, Kiyotaka & Takahashi, Koji, 2016. "The Real Effects of Bank-Driven Termination of Relationships: Evidence from Loan-level Matched Data," MPRA Paper 70668, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. 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.
    12. Smith, David C., 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 283-304, September.
    13. Mitsuhiro Fukao, 2005. "The effects of ‘Gesell’ (Currency) taxes in promoting Japan's economic recovery," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 173-188, November.
    14. Claudio Borio, 2014. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: what have we learned and what are the policy implications?," Chapters,in: Financial Cycles and the Real Economy, chapter 2, pages 10-35 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Borio, Claudio, 2014. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: What have we learnt?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 182-198.
    16. David C. Smith, 2002. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 2002-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    17. Hakenes, Hendrik & Schnabel, Isabel, 2010. "Banks without parachutes: Competitive effects of government bail-out policies," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 156-168, September.
    18. Anil K. Kashyap, 2002. "Sorting out Japan's financial crisis," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 42-55.
    19. Marianne Rubinstein, 2009. "Quels enseignements tirer de la crise financière japonaise pour la crise actuelle ?," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 94(1), pages 251-271.
    20. Barseghyan, Levon, 2010. "Non-performing loans, prospective bailouts, and Japan's slowdown," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 873-890, October.
    21. Marianne Rubinstein, 2008. "Le marché de l’immobilier résidentiel en France : évolutions récentes et perspectives," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 91(1), pages 143-163.
    22. Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2004. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Economic Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
    23. Richard S. Grossman & Masami Imai, 2011. "Contingent Capital and Bank Risk-Taking among British Banks before World War I," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2011-003, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    24. David C. Smith, 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," International Finance Discussion Papers 769, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    25. Oren Levintal, 2012. "Equity Capital, Bankruptcy Risk and the Liquidity Trap," Working Papers 2012-07, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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