COVID-19 Crisis, Prudential Policy, and Bank Lending
Friday, Jan. 6, 2023 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)
- Chair: Aakriti Mathur, Bank of England
How to Release Capital Requirements During a Pandemic? Evidence From Euro Area Banks
AbstractThis paper investigates the impact of the capital relief package adopted to support European banks at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging confidential supervisory and credit register data, we uncover two main findings. First, capital relief measures support banks’ capacity to supply credit to firms. Second, not all measures are equally successful. Banks adjust their credit supply only if the capital relief is permanent or implemented through established processes. By contrast, discretionary relief measures are met with limited success, possibly owing to the uncertainty surrounding their capital replenishment path. Moreover, requirement releases are more effective for banks with a low capital headroom over requirements and do not trigger additional risk-taking. These findings provide key insights on how to design effective bank capital requirement releases in crisis time.
Caution: Do Not Cross! Capital Buffers and Lending in COVID-19 Times
AbstractWhile regulatory capital buffers are expected to be drawn to absorb losses and meet credit demand during crises, this paper shows that banks were unwilling to do so during the pandemic. To the contrary, banks engaged in forms of pro-cyclical behaviour to preserve capital ratios. By employing granular data from the credit register of the European System of Central Banks, we isolate credit supply effects and find that banks with little headroom above regulatory buffers reduced their lending relative to other banks, also when controlling for a broad range of pandemic support measures. Firms’ inability to reallocate their credit needs to less constrained banks had real economic effects, as their headcount went down, although state guarantee schemes acted as partial mitigants. These findings point to some unintended effects of the capital framework which may create incentives for pro-cyclical behaviour by banks during downturns. They also shed light on the interactions between fiscal and prudential policies which took place during the pandemic.
Usability of Bank Capital Buffers: The Role of Market Expectations
AbstractFollowing the COVID shock, supervisors encouraged banks to use capital buffers to support the recovery. However, banks have been reluctant to do so. Provided the market expects a bank to rebuild its buffers, any draw-down will open up a capital shortfall that will weigh on its share price. Therefore, a bank will only decide to use its buffers if the value creation from a larger loan book offsets the costs associated with a capital shortfall. Using market expectations, we calibrate a framework for assessing the usability of buffers. Our results suggest that the cases in which the use of buffers make economic sense are rare in practice.
- G2 - Financial Institutions and Services