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Does the market believe in loss-absorbing bank debt?


  • Dr. Martin Indergand
  • Gabriela Hrasko


We propose a simple model to estimate the risk-neutral loss distribution from the credit spreads of long-term debt instruments with different seniorities. We apply our model to a sample of global systemically important banks that have issued bail-in debt in order to meet the total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC) requirements established after the global financial crisis. Bail-in debt is a new debt category that absorbs losses in a gone-concern situation and that ranks between subordinated debt and non-eligible senior debt. With a structural model for these three debt layers, we calibrate the tail of the risk-neutral loss distribution such that it is consistent with the observed market prices. Based on this loss distribution, we find that the expected loss in a gone-concern situation exceeds TLAC for most banks and that the risk-neutral probability that TLAC will not be sufficient to cover the losses in such a situation is approximately 50%. The large expected losses that we find with our model are a consequence of the similar pricing of bail-in debt relative to other senior debt. We argue that regulators should promote further clarity about the subordination and the conversion mechanism of bail-in debt to achieve a more differentiated pricing that is more in line with regulatory expectations.

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  • Dr. Martin Indergand & Gabriela Hrasko, 2021. "Does the market believe in loss-absorbing bank debt?," Working Papers 2021-13, Swiss National Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2021-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Financial stability; bank regulation; loss-absorbing capacity; creditor hierarchy; bail-in debt; bank resolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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