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Overleveraging in the banking sector: Evidence from Europe

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  • Schleer, Frauke
  • Semmler, Willi
  • Illner, Julian

Abstract

Overleveraging of the banking sector has been considered as one of the main causes of the 2007-09 financial crisis and the subsequent great recession. It was also of major concern for the subsequent BIS regulatory policies resulting in Basel III and its request for higher capital requirements. It has now become highly relevant for the planned European banking union. Overleveraging of the banking sector exposes the financial sector and the macroeconomy to vulnerabilities, but also, as critics state, seems to constrain credit flows to the private sector. We present here a measure of overleveraging, defined as the difference of actual and sustainable debt, conduct an empirical study on overleveraging for 40 banks in Europe, and study the vulnerabilities and credit contractions that can arise subsequently. Before the year 2004 overleveraging has not been a serious problem as leverage was on a sustainable level. However, in the run-up to the financial crisis, actual and optimal debt ran apart and the banking sector began to suffer from overleveraging. We use a nonlinear Vector STAR model to evaluate the hypothesis that periods of increasing debt levels are accompanied by more severe credit constraints than periods of low leveraging. We demonstrate this for country groups across Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Schleer, Frauke & Semmler, Willi & Illner, Julian, 2014. "Overleveraging in the banking sector: Evidence from Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-066, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:14066
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    Cited by:

    1. Gevorkyan, Arkady & Semmler, Willi, 2016. "Oil price, overleveraging and shakeout in the shale energy sector — Game changers in the oil industry," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 244-259.
    2. Bonczek, Thomas & Fuest, Clemens & Schröder, Michael, 2014. "Who is afraid of the Asset Quality Review? Potential losses and capital shortfalls in the European banking system," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 213, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    3. Schleer, Frauke & Semmler, Willi, 2015. "Financial sector and output dynamics in the euro area: Non-linearities reconsidered," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 235-263.
    4. Ernst, Ekkehard & Semmler, Willi & Haider, Alexander, 2017. "Debt-deflation, financial market stress and regime change – Evidence from Europe using MRVAR," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 115-139.
    5. Gross, Marco & Henry, Jerome & Semmler, Willi, 2018. "Destabilizing Effects Of Bank Overleveraging On Real Activity—An Analysis Based On A Threshold Mcs-Gvar," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(7), pages 1750-1768, October.
    6. Willi Semmler & Alexander Haider, 2016. "The perils of debt deflation in the Euro area: a multi regime model," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(2), pages 257-278, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Overleveraging; banking sector; Vector STAR; real economy; credit flows; regime switch;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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