Population Aging and Bank Risk-taking
53 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2019 Last revised: 30 Mar 2023
Date Written: July 1, 2022
What are the implications of an aging population for financial stability? To examine this question, we exploit geographic variation in aging across U.S. counties. We establish that banks with higher exposure to aging counties increase loan-to-income ratios. Laxer lending standards lead to higher nonperforming loans during downturns, suggesting higher credit risk. Inspecting the mechanism shows that aging drives risk-taking through two contemporaneous channels: deposit inflows due to seniors’ propensity to save in deposits; and depressed local investment opportunities due to seniors’ lower credit demand. Banks thus look for riskier clients, especially in counties where they operate no branches.
Keywords: Risk-taking, financial stability, low interest rates, population aging, demographics.
JEL Classification: E51, G21.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation