Bank Capital and the Credit Crunch: The Roles of Risk-Based and Leverage-Based Capital Regulations
Posted: 12 May 2000
We investigated whether in recent years banks have increased their holdings of securities at the expense of their holdings of business loans in response to short-falls of their capital relative to risk-weighted capital standards and relative to a capital standard that made no explicit allowance for credit risk. We estimated that bank credit fell by about $4.50 for each $1 that a bank's capital fell short of the unweighted capital standard. Banks that had less capital than required by the risk-weighted standard appear to have shifted away from assets with low risk weights (securities and single-family mortgages) and to have shifted toward assets with higher risk weights (commercial real estate and commercial and industrial loans). When we included both shortfall variables in a regression, shortfalls relative to the unweighted capital standard significantly affected bank credit, while shortfalls of capital relative to the risk-weighted standard did not. We found no significant effects of capital shortfalls at other, local-competitor banks on bank portfolios. Delinquencies in a given category of a bank's loans generally had significantly negative effects on that bank's holdings of loans in that category. In contrast, banks tended to increase holdings of loans in categories in which local-competitor banks were experiencing higher delinquency rates.
JEL Classification: G21
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