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Bank risks and the business cycle






  • L. BAELE



This paper investigates the return/risk behavior of European banks in the economic downturn of 2000-2003 in order to investigate the sources of bank resilience during the economic slowdown. We identify banks with different strategies and different characteristics before the slowdown and investigate their risk profile before and during the downturn with market-based measures such as the Q-ratio, the Sharpe ratio and the betas for relevant risk exposures. We find that bank returns and risks differ across countries and institutional types. Diversified banks were hit harder than their specialized peers. Banks with a focus on local lending and banks with relatively high interest margins seem to have benefited from that focus. Banks with higher levels of capital are not only viewed by the stock market as less risky, they also produce superior returns during a downturn. This underscores the importance of Basle-type capital adequacy rules for the systemic stability of the banking system. Finally, we find that neither size nor hedging offer a structural protection against adverse economic conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Vander Vennet & O. De Jonghe & L. Baele, 2004. "Bank risks and the business cycle," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 04/264, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:04/264

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    Cited by:

    1. De Jonghe, Olivier & Vennet, Rudi Vander, 2008. "Competition versus efficiency: What drives franchise values in European banking?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1820-1835, September.
    2. Mohamed Azzim Gulamhussen & Carlos Pinheiro & Alberto Franco Pozzolo, 2012. "Were Multinational Banks Taking Excessive Risks Before the Recent Financial Crisis?," Development Working Papers 332, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 16 Jul 2012.
    3. Christian Calm¨¨s & Raymond Th¨¦oret, 2016. "The Asymmetric Impact of Portfolio Mix on Bank Performance over the Business Cycle: U.S. and Canadian Evidence," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 6, pages 57-74, February.
    4. Gulamhussen, M.A. & Pinheiro, Carlos & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2014. "International diversification and risk of multinational banks: Evidence from the pre-crisis period," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 30-43.
    5. Castrén, Olli & Fitzpatrick, Trevor & Sydow, Matthias, 2006. "What drives EU banks' stock returns? Bank-level evidence using the dynamic dividend-discount model," Working Paper Series 677, European Central Bank.
    6. Racicot, François-Éric & Théoret, Raymond, 2016. "Macroeconomic shocks, forward-looking dynamics, and the behavior of hedge funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 41-61.

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