Friday, November 11, 2011

Moral Hazard FOTD

. Friday, November 11, 2011

Banks that took bailout money acted more riskily.

Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura of the University of Michigan looked at the U.S.’ Capital Purchase Program. ... 
Duchin and Sosyua looked at a sample of 529 public firms that were eligible for CPP and slotted them into categories based on whether they applied, whether they were approved and whether they ultimately took the money. They controlled for non-random selection (via measures of the banks’ financial condition, performance, size and crisis exposure); for changes in national and regional economic conditions; and finally for potential distinctions in credit demand. 
They then viewed the banks’ CPP participation status in comparison with their subsequent risk appetite as demonstrated by (1) their consumer mortgage credit approvals or denials (viewed on a risk-profile controlled, application-by-application basis); (2) their participation in syndicated corporate loans for riskier credits and; (3) the risk profile of their investment asset portfolios. What did they find? ... 
Moving from this granular level to a bank-wide basis, the authors found that the CPP banks increased asset risk (using ROA & earnings volatility as proxies) while decreasing their leverage (perhaps because they knew that regulators would be keeping an eye on this metric in addition to the capitalization ratio.)
Here's the paper. This part of the abstract is very important:
Our difference-in-difference analysis indicates that after the bailout, bailed banks approve riskier loans and shift investment portfolios toward riskier securities. However, this shift in risk occurs mostly within the same asset class and, therefore, has little effect on the closely-monitored capitalization levels. Consequently, bailed banks appear safer according to the capitalization requirements, but show a significant increase in market-based measures of risk. Overall, our evidence suggests that banks’ response to capital requirements may erode their efficacy in risk regulation.
So of course global -- and many domestic -- regulations focus on capital and leverage ratios.

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