Stronger Risk Controls, Lower Risk: Evidence from U.S. Bank Holding Companies

58 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2010 Last revised: 16 Sep 2010

See all articles by Andrew Ellul

Andrew Ellul

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); University of Naples Federico II - CSEF - Center for Studies in Economics and Finance

Vijay Yerramilli

University of Houston, C. T. Bauer College of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2010

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) with strong and independent risk management functions have lower enterprise-wide risk. We hand-collect information on the organizational structure of the risk management function at the 74 largest publicly-listed BHCs, and use this information to construct a Risk Management Index (RMI) that measures the strength of organizational risk controls at these institutions. We find that BHCs with a high RMI in the year 2006 (i.e., before the onset of the financial crisis) had lower exposure to private-label mortgage-backed securities, were less active in trading off-balance sheet derivatives, had a smaller fraction of non-performing loans, and had lower downside risk during the crisis years (2007 and 2008). In a panel spanning the 9 year period 2000--2008, we find that BHCs with higher RMIs have lower enterprise-wide risk, after controlling for size, profitability, a variety of risk characteristics, corporate governance, CEO's pay-performance sensitivity, and BHC fixed effects. This result holds even after controlling for any dynamic endogeneity between risk and internal risk controls. Overall, these results suggest that strong internal risk controls are effective in restraining risk-taking behavior at banking institutions.

Suggested Citation

Ellul, Andrew and Yerramilli, Vijay, Stronger Risk Controls, Lower Risk: Evidence from U.S. Bank Holding Companies (July 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16178. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1636647

Andrew Ellul (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance ( email )

1309 E. 10th St.
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

University of Naples Federico II - CSEF - Center for Studies in Economics and Finance ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

Vijay Yerramilli

University of Houston, C. T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

Houston, TX 77204
United States
713-743-2516 (Phone)

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