2014-25 | With Wong and Hui | October 2014
The international transmission of shocks in the global financial system has always been an important issue for policy makers. Different types of foreign shocks have different effects and policy implications. In this paper, we examine the effects of the recent U.S. financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis on foreign bank branches in Hong Kong. Unlike the literature on global banking that studies a global bank’s foreign operations from a home country perspective, our analysis uses foreign bank branches in Hong Kong and has a distinct host country perspective, which would seem more relevant to the host country policy makers. We find global banks using the foreign branches in Hong Kong as a funding source during the liquidity crunch in home country, suggesting that global banks manage their liquidity risk globally. After the central bank at home country introduced liquidity facility to relieve funding pressure, the effect disappeared. We also find strong evidence that foreign branches originated from crisis countries lend significantly less in Hong Kong relative to their controls, suggesting the presence of the lending channel in the transmission of shocks from the home country to the host country.
2013-35 | With Iannotta | July 2014
This paper finds that banking firms’ unexpected loan loss provisions had a significant effect of increasing bank opacity, both before and during the 2007-09 financial crisis. Furthermore, during the financial crisis, the extent to which banks delayed loan loss recognition is found to have had a significant effect on bank opacity, confirming an important concern raised by the Financial Crisis Advisory Group. Overall, banks’ practices in managing reserves seem to have a material impact on their opacity.
2010-11 | May 2010
This paper estimates the amount of tightening in bank commercial and industrial (C&I) loan rates during the financial crisis. After controlling for loan characteristics and bank fixed effects, as of 2010:Q1, the average C&I loan spread was 66 basis points or 23 percent above normal. From about 2005 to 2008, the loan spread averaged 23 basis points below normal. Thus, from the unusually loose lending conditions in 2007 to the much tighter conditions in 2010:Q1, the average loan spread increased by about 1 percentage point. I find that large and medium-sized banks tightened their loan rates more than small banks; while small banks tended to tighten less, they always charged more. Using loan size to proxy for bank-dependent borrowers, while small loans tend to have a higher spread than large loans, I find that small loans actually tightened less than large loans in both absolute and percentage terms. Hence, the results do not indicate that bank-dependent borrowers suffered more from bank tightening than large borrowers. The channels through which banks tightened loan rates include reducing the discounts on large loans and raising the risk premium on more risky loans. There also is evidence that noncommitment loans were priced significantly higher than commitment loans at the height of the liquidity shortfall in late 2007 and early 2008, but this premium dropped to zero following the introduction of emergency liquidity facilities by the Federal Reserve. In a cross section of banks, certain bank characteristics are found to have significant effects on loan prices, including loan portfolio quality, capital ratios, and the amount of unused loan commitments. These findings provide evidence on the supply-side effect of loan pricing.
2004-19 | November 2004
Under the strong form of market discipline, publicly traded banks that have constantly available public market signals from their stock (and bond) prices would take less risk than non-publicly traded banks because counterparties, borrowers, and regulators could react to adverse public market signals against publicly traded banks. In comparing the credit
risk, earnings risk, capitalization, and failure risk between publicly traded and non-publicly traded banks, the evidence in this paper rejects the strong-form of market discipline. In fact, the findings indicate that banking organizations tend to take more risk when they were publicly traded than when they were privately owned.
FRBSF WP1998-10 | October 1997
This paper studies the implications of securities activities on bank safety and soundness by
comparing the ex-post returns between banking firms’ Section 20 subsidiaries — subsidiaries that
were authorized by the Federal Reserve to conduct bank-ineligible securities activities — and their
commercial bank affiliates. I found that securities subsidiaries tend to be riskier but not necessary
more profitable than their bank affiliates. For securities subsidiaries that are primary dealers of
government securities, their higher risk partially comes from their higher leverage, whereas for
those that are not primary dealers, despite having lower leverage, they tend to be riskier than their
bank affiliates partly because of their aggressive trading behavior. Nevertheless, securities
subsidiaries appear to provide diversification benefits to bank holding companies, as evidenced by
the low return correlation between bank subsidiaries and securities subsidiaries.
Within the class of securities activities, I found that securities trading tends to be more
profitable and riskier than banking activities. Trading activities engaged by primary dealer
securities subsidiaries tend to provide strong diversification benefits to banking activities, reducing
the banking organization’s overall risk. For non-primary dealers, due to their aggressive trading
behavior, their trading activities were found to increase the firm’s total risk. On the other hand,
securities underwriting is found to be riskier, and in the case of non-primary dealers also less
profitable, than banking activities. Nevertheless, its return exhibits low correlation with banking
return and trading return, suggesting that securities underwriting provides potential diversification
benefits to both banking and trading activities.
FRB Atlanta WP1999-23 | With Eisenbeis and Ferrier | December 1999
This paper examines the properties of the X-inefficiencies in U.S. bank holding companies derived from both stochastic and linear programming frontiers. This examination allows the robustness of results across methods to be compared. While we find that calculated programming inefficiency scores are two to three times larger than those estimated using a stochastic frontier, the patterns of the scores across banks and time are similar, and there is a relatively high correlation of the rankings of banks’ efficiencies under the two methods. However, when we examine the “informativeness” of the efficiency measured by the two different techniques, we find some large differences. We find evidence that the stochastic frontier scores are more closely related to risk-taking behavior, managerial competence, and bank stock returns. Based on these findings, we conclude that while both methods produce informative efficiency scores, for this data set decision makers should put more weight on the stochastic frontier efficiency estimates.