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Do Banks provision for bad loans in good times? empirical evidence and policy implications

Author

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  • Cavallo, Michele
  • Majnoni, Giovanni

Abstract

Recent debate about the pro-cyclical effects of bank capital requirements, has ignored the important role that bank loan loss provisions play in the overall framework of minimum capital regulation. It is frequently observed that under-provisioning, due to inadequate assessment of expected credit losses, aggravates the negative effect of minimum capital requirements during recessions, because capital must absorb both expected, and unexpected losses. Moreover, when expected losses are properly reflected in lending rates, but not in provisioning practices, fluctuations in bank earnings magnify true oscillations in bank profitability. The relative agency problems faced by different stakeholders, may help explain the prevailing, and often unsatisfactory institutional arrangements. The authors test their hypotheses with a sample of 1,176 large commercial banks - 372 of them in non-G10 countries - for the period 1988-99. After controlling for different country-specific macroeconomic, and institutional features, they find robust evidence among G10 banks, of a positive association between loan loss provisions, and banks'pre-provision income. Such evidence is not confirmed for non-G10 banks, which on average, provision too little in good times, and are forced to increase provisions in bad times. The econometric evidence shows that the protection of outsiders'claims - the claims of minority shareholders in common law countries, and of fiscal authorities in countries with high public debt - on bank income, has negative effects on the level of bank provisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cavallo, Michele & Majnoni, Giovanni, 2001. "Do Banks provision for bad loans in good times? empirical evidence and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2619, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2619
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Beckmann, Rainer, 2007. "Profitability of Western European banking systems: panel evidence on structural and cyclical determinants," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2007,17, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    2. Estrella, Arturo, 2004. "The cyclical behavior of optimal bank capital," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1469-1498, June.
    3. Verónica Balzarotti & Alejandra Anastasi, 2011. "Regulatory Solutions to Bank Loans Pro-Cyclicality. Is the Cure Worse than the Illness?," BCRA Working Paper Series 201154, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department.
    4. Chakraborty, Suparna & Allen, Linda, 2007. "Revisiting the Level Playing Field: International Lending Responses to Divergences in Japanese Bank Capital Regulations from the Basel Accord," MPRA Paper 1805, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Vincent Bouvatier & Laetitia Lepetit, 2006. "Banks'procyclicality behavior : does provisioning matter ?," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla06035, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    6. Bouvatier, Vincent & Lepetit, Laetitia & Strobel, Frank, 2014. "Bank income smoothing, ownership concentration and the regulatory environment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 253-270.
    7. Fonseca, Ana Rosa & González, Francisco, 2008. "Cross-country determinants of bank income smoothing by managing loan-loss provisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 217-228, February.
    8. Bouvatier, Vincent & Lepetit, Laetitia, 2012. "Provisioning rules and bank lending: A theoretical model," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 25-31.
    9. Stefanelli, Valeria & Matteo, Cotugno, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis on Board Monitoring Role and Loan Portfolio Quality Measurement in Banks," MPRA Paper 29766, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. repec:lan:wpaper:68464009 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Darren Pain, 2003. "The provisioning experience of the major UK banks: a small panel investigation," Bank of England working papers 177, Bank of England.
    12. Bolt, Wilko & de Haan, Leo & Hoeberichts, Marco & van Oordt, Maarten R.C. & Swank, Job, 2012. "Bank profitability during recessions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 2552-2564.
    13. Rojas-Suarez, Liliana, 2002. "Can international capital standards strengthen banks in emerging markets?," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 5, pages 51-63.
    14. Linda S. Goldberg, 2007. "Financial sector FDI and host countries: new and old lessons," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 1-17.
    15. Shen, Chung-Hua & Chen, Ting-Hsuan, 2010. "Estimating banking cost efficiency with the consideration of cost management," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 424-435, November.

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