How Banks Exploit Reporting Rules to Cover Up Their Leverage Risk
49 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2019 Last revised: 6 Dec 2019
Date Written: March 14, 2019
I provide empirical evidence of how banks conceal their actual leverage risk on reporting days at the end of the quarter following the introduction of the leverage ratio (LR) public disclosure. Using a novel dataset of wholesale deposit transactions, I show that the intended backstop function of the LR to prevent the excessive build-up of leverage risk is generally effective. However, EU Banks, which follow a reference day calculation approach of the LR, that are relatively more constrained by the LR requirement than the risk-based capital requirement and are also close to the minimum LR requirement significantly contract their balance sheets by reducing short-term wholesale deposits at quarter-ends. They repay wholesale liabilities by reducing their loan holdings. At the same time, such banks increase the risk of the loan portfolio by originating higher-yielding loans.
Keywords: leverage ratio, capital requirements, window dressing, bank regulation, wholesale funding
JEL Classification: G21, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation