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Diversification and determinants of international credit portfolios: Evidence from German banks


  • Böninghausen, Benjamin
  • Köhler, Matthias


This paper examines the international credit portfolios of German banks. We construct a bank-country panel from a unique dataset for a representative set of countries and ask why banks leave diversification opportunities unexploited in some countries. Controlling for bank heterogeneity, we analyse the deviations of actual portfolios from a mean-variance based benchmark and their country-level determinants. Our results show that banking regulations are important determinants of the credit allocation of German banks. We present robust evidence that countries with stricter capital adequacy and entry requirements tend to be overweighted, primarily due to excess profits resulting from a lower level of banking market competition. German banks also overweight countries with larger and more developed banking markets. Moreover, we find support that German banks follow their domestic customers abroad to maintain existing lending relationships. Geographical factors, in contrast, do not seem to matter. Our findings suggest that changes in and convergence of banking regulations as well as financial deepening of banking sectors around the world may, in the long term, result in banks holding more diversified international credit portfolios.

Suggested Citation

  • Böninghausen, Benjamin & Köhler, Matthias, 2012. "Diversification and determinants of international credit portfolios: Evidence from German banks," Discussion Papers 28/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdps:282012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. Ayhan Kose & Christopher Otrok & Eswar Prasad, 2012. "Global Business Cycles: Convergence Or Decoupling?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 511-538, May.
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    More about this item


    international banking; international financial integration; portfolio choice;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

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