New research reveals the dynamics that influence how bank capital structure affects credit monitoring. The study titled, “Who Monitors the Monitor: Bank Capital Structure and Borrower Monitoring,” details how researchers measure the effects of a bank’s capital structure on its credit monitoring, and delivers new evidence explaining how government safety nets that enhance banking protections affect bank capital structure, and, in turn, influence bank monitoring and risk-taking behavior.
The research co-authors are Olin’s Anjan Thakor, and Sudarshan Jayaraman, associate professor of accounting at Simon Business School at the University of Rochester .
The research highlights four main findings:
* Banks take on less equity and more debt when creditor rights increase and the reverse when creditor rights decrease.
* This indicates that bank equity appears to provide stronger monitoring incentives to banks and that they need less of this mechanism when there is a lower need for monitoring.
* These effects are not driven by the supply side (i.e., bank creditors are more willing to lend to the bank when creditor rights increase).
* The increase in bank leverage increases the bank’s risk-taking appetite, especially when government guarantees are in place.
The co-authors studied legal reforms in 14 countries across Europe and Asia during the 1990s and early 2000s.
The researchers conclude that stronger creditor rights tend to increase the bank’s cost of debt, particularly when governments offer a strong guarantee to banks. These results indicate that stronger banking rights needs are not always better and that legal remedies that strengthen banking rights can bring about unintended consequences as banks incur higher debt and assume greater risks.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons: MNB: ninety odd years of banking 1825-1916, Claire T. Carney Library, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth