Hazardous Times for Monetary Policy: What Do Twenty-Three Million Bank Loans Say about the Effects of Monetary Policy on Credit Risk?

36 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2008

See all articles by Gabriel Jiménez

Gabriel Jiménez

Banco de España

Steven Ongena

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Swiss Finance Institute; KU Leuven; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

José-Luis Peydró

Imperial College London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Jesus Saurina Salas

Banco de España

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

We investigate the impact of the stance and path of monetary policy on the level of credit risk of individual bank loans and on lending standards. We employ the Credit Register of the Bank of Spain that contains detailed monthly information on virtually all loans granted by all credit institutions operating in Spain during the last twenty-two years - generating almost twenty-three million bank loan records in total. Spanish monetary conditions were exogenously determined during the entire sample period.

Using a variety of duration models we find that lower short-term interest rates prior to loan origination result in banks granting more risky new loans. Banks also soften their lending standards - they lend more to borrowers with a bad credit history and with high uncertainty. Lower interest rates, by contrast, reduce the credit risk of outstanding loans. Loan credit risk is maximized when both interest rates are very low prior to loan origination and interest rates are very high over the life of the loan. Our results suggest that low interest rates increase bank risk-taking, reduce credit risk in banks in the very short run but worsen it in the medium run.

Risk-taking is not equal for all type of banks: Small banks, banks with fewer lending opportunities, banks with less sophisticated depositors, and savings or cooperative banks take on more extra risk than other banks when interest rates are lower. Higher GDP growth reduces credit risk on both new and outstanding loans, in stark contrast to the differential effects of monetary policy.

Keywords: bank organization, business cycle, credit risk, duration analysis, financial stability, lending standards, low interest rates, monetary policy, risk-taking

JEL Classification: E44, G21, L14

Suggested Citation

Jimenez, Gabriel and Ongena, Steven R. G. and Peydro, Jose-Luis and Saurina Salas, Jesus, Hazardous Times for Monetary Policy: What Do Twenty-Three Million Bank Loans Say about the Effects of Monetary Policy on Credit Risk? (October 2007). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6514, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1140041

Gabriel Jimenez (Contact Author)

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014
Spain

Steven R. G. Ongena

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Schönberggasse 1
Zürich, 8001
Switzerland

Swiss Finance Institute

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jose-Luis Peydro

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain
(+34) 93 542 1756 (Phone)
(+34) 93 542 1746 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/joseluispeydroswebpage/

Jesus Saurina Salas

Banco de España ( email )

Madrid 28014
Spain

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