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Bank asset quality and monetary policy pass-through

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  • Kelly, Robert
  • Byrne, David

Abstract

The funding mix of European firms is weighted heavily towards bank credit, which underscores the importance of efficient pass-through of monetary policy actions to lending rates faced by firms. Euro area pass-through has shifted from being relatively homogenous to being fragmented and incomplete since the financial crisis. Distressed loan books are a crisis hangover with direct implications for profitability, hampering banks ability to supply credit and lower loan pricing in response to reductions in the policy rate. This paper presents a parsimonious model to decompose the cost of lending and highlight the role of asset quality in diminishing pass-through. Using bank-level data over the period 2008-2014, we empirically test the implications of the model. We show that a one percentage point increase in the impairment ratio lowering short run pass-through by 3 percent. We find that banks with severely impaired balance sheets do not adjust their loan pricing in response to changes in the policy rate at all. We derive a measure of the hidden bad loan problem, the NPL gap, which we define as the excess of non-performing loans over impaired loans. We show that it played a significant role in the fragmentation of euro area pass-through post-crisis. JEL Classification: D43, E51, E52, E58, G21

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly, Robert & Byrne, David, 2019. "Bank asset quality and monetary policy pass-through," ESRB Working Paper Series 98, European Systemic Risk Board.
  • Handle: RePEc:srk:srkwps:201998
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    File URL: https://www.esrb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/wp/esrb.wp98~2f5ed9883e.en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    impaired loans; interest rates; monetary policy pass-through; non-performing loans;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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