An Analysis of Bank Charter Value and its Risk-Constraining Incentives
Posted: 10 Sep 2001
Valuable bank charters have been hypothesized to provide bank managers self-regulatory incentives to constrain their risk taking. However, this paper presents evidence that charter value itself may derive from high-risk activities, indicating that minimizing risk taking also would limit the value of the charter. During economic expansions, bank charter values increase to reflect growth opportunities. In turn, high-charter-value banks gain easier access to equity capital sources for expansion. The result is a positive relationship between charter value and capital ratios during expansions. However, this relationship may invert during economic contractions. Panel regressions demonstrate that the charter value and bank leverage relationship is sensitive to market conditions.
Keywords: Charter value, bank capital, risk taking incentives, business cycle
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