The Impact of Government Ownership on Banks’ Ratings: Evidence from the European Banking Industry

Posted: 29 Oct 2009

See all articles by Andrea Sironi

Andrea Sironi

Bocconi University - Department of Finance

Giuliano Iannotta

Università Cattolica

Giacomo Nocera

Audencia Business School

Date Written: July 1, 2009

Abstract

We evaluate the impact of government ownership on the issuer and individual ratings of a sample of 224 large European banks over the 1999-2004 period. Individual ratings differ from traditional ones in that they focus on banks’ economic and financial conditions and do not take into account any external support from banks’ owners, local or national governments, monetary authorities or other official institutions. Two main results emerge from our analysis. First, after controlling for accounting variables, government-owned banks have a better average issuer rating than privately owned ones, indicating that government-owned banks benefit from a lower cost of debt funding. Second, privately-owned banks have a lower risk of insolvency, as reflected in a better individual rating, than government-owned banks. This result, which remains even after controlling for banks’ economic and financial conditions, indicates that government-owned banks benefit from a government protection mechanism in the form of explicit and/or implicit guarantees.

Keywords: European banking, Ownership, Market Discipline, Credit Ratings

JEL Classification: G15, G21, G28, G32

Suggested Citation

Sironi, Andrea and Iannotta, Giuliano and Nocera, Giacomo, The Impact of Government Ownership on Banks’ Ratings: Evidence from the European Banking Industry (July 1, 2009). Bancaria No. 06-2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495868

Andrea Sironi (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Finance ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

Giuliano Iannotta

Università Cattolica ( email )

20123 Milano
Italy

Giacomo Nocera

Audencia Business School ( email )

8 route de la Jonelière, BP 31222
Nantes Cedex 3, Cedex 3 44312
France

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