In the Shadow of Banks: Wealth Management Products and Issuing Banks’ Risk in China
61 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019 Last revised: 11 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 8, 2020
We study the rise and risks in bank issuance of Wealth Management Products (WMPs), which are off-balance-sheet substitutes for deposits without the regulatory interest rate ceilings and constitute the largest shadow banking segment in China. We show that competition for deposits has a causal effect on the WMP issuance of small and medium sized banks (SMBs), where we instrument deposit competition by SMBs’ geographical exposure to the large (Big Four) banks. The Big Four banks substantially increased their loan supply to support the RMB 4 trillion stimulus initiated in response to the global financial crisis, and thereafter grew more aggressive in the deposit markets in order to stay below the regulatory ceiling on the loan-to-deposit ratio. In response, SMBs issued more WMPs and more frequently, besides also establishing fewer branches in cities with greater competition from the Big Four banks. We find that this growth of WMPs imposed rollover risks for all the bank issuers, as reflected in higher yields on new WMPs, higher borrowing rates in the inter-bank market, and adverse stock market performance of WMP-issuing banks on days with heightened rollover risks.
Keywords: Shadow banking, regulatory arbitrage, rollover risk, financial fragility, deposit competition
JEL Classification: G2, E4, L2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation