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Jel Classification:G21 

Working Paper
Is Bigger Necessarily Better in Community Banking?
We investigate the relative performance of publicly traded community banks (those with assets less than $10 billion) versus larger banks (those with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion). A body of research has shown that community banks have potential advantages in relationship lending compared with large banks, although newer research suggests that these advantages may be shrinking. In addition, the burdens placed on community banks by the regulatory reforms mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the need to increase investment in technology, both of which have fixed-cost components, may have disproportionately raised community banks? costs. We find that, on average, large banks financially outperform community banks as a group and are more efficient at credit-risk assessment and monitoring. But within the community bank segment, larger community banks outperform smaller community banks. Our findings, taken as a whole, suggest that there are incentives for small banks to grow larger to exploit scale economies and to achieve other scale-related benefits in terms of credit-risk monitoring. In addition, we find that small business lending is an important factor in the better performance of large community banks compared with small community banks. Thus, concern that small business lending would be adversely affected if small community banks find it beneficial to increase their scale is not supported by our results.
AUTHORS: Hughes, Joseph P.; Mester, Loretta J.; Jagtiani, Julapa
DATE: 2016-06-29

Working Paper
Volatile Lending and Bank Wholesale Funding
The paper presents the first empirical study of the relation between bank loan volume volatility and bank retail and wholesale liabilities. We argue that since the volume of retail deposits is inflexible, banks facing volatile loan demand tend to fund loans with larger shares of wholesale rather than retail liabilities. We empirically confirm this argument using a unique dataset constructed from the weekly financial reports of 104 large U.S. commercial banks. The high frequency of the data allows us to employ dynamic identification schemes which mitigate reverse causality and selection concerns. Our results imply that the introduction of regulatory limits on wholesale liabilities will increase the exposure of banks to loan demand shocks. Such a regulation will also inhibit the ability of the banking sector to service more volatile loans. This may smooth the lending cycles, but it will also slow recoveries of lending volume after a substantial recession.
AUTHORS: Dinger, Valeriya; Craig, Ben R.
DATE: 2014-10-02

Working Paper
Filling in the Blanks: Network Structure and Interbank Contagion
The network pattern of financial linkages is important in many areas of banking and finance. Yet bilateral linkages are often unobserved, and maximum entropy serves as the leading method for estimating counterparty exposures. This paper proposes an efficient alternative that combines information-theoretic arguments with economic incentives to produce more realistic interbank networks that preserve important characteristics of the original interbank market. The method loads the most probable links with the largest exposures consistent with the total lending and borrowing of each bank, yielding networks with minimum density. When used in a stress-testing context, the minimum-density solution overestimates contagion, whereas maximum entropy underestimates it. Using the two benchmarks side by side defines a useful range that bounds the cost of contagion in the true interbank network when counterparty exposures are unknown.
AUTHORS: Anand, Kartik; von Peter, Goetz; Craig, Ben R.
DATE: 2014-10-02

Working Paper
The Impact of Merger Legislation on Bank Mergers
We find that stricter merger control legislation increases abnormal announcement returns of targets in bank mergers by 7 percentage points. Analyzing potential explanations for this result, we document an increase in the pre-merger profitability of targets, a decrease in the size of acquirers, and a decreasing share of transactions in which banks are acquired by other banks. Other merger properties, including the size and risk profile of targets, the geographic overlap of merging banks, and the stock market response of rivals appear unaffected. The evidence suggests that the strengthening of merger control leads to more efficient and more competitive transactions.
AUTHORS: Spagnolo, Giancarlo; Carletti, Elena; Ongena, Steven; Siedlarek, Jan-Peter
DATE: 2016-06-01

Working Paper
How Do Lead Banks Use Their Private Information about Loan Quality in the Syndicated Loan Market?
Little is known about how lead banks in the syndicated loan market use their private information about loan quality. We formulate and test two hypotheses, the Signaling Hypothesis and Sophisticated Syndicate Hypothesis. To measure private information, we use Shared National Credit (SNC) internal loan ratings, which we make comparable across banks using concordance tables. We find that favorable private information is associated with higher loan retention by lead banks for term loans, consistent with empirical domination of the Signaling Hypothesis, while neither hypothesis dominates for revolvers. Differences in syndicate structure at least partially explain this disparity.
AUTHORS: Koepke, Matthew; Balasubramanyan, Lakshmi; Berger, Allen N.
DATE: 2016-06-30

Working Paper
Rebuilding after Disaster Strikes: How Local Lenders Aid in the Recovery
Using detailed employment data on firm age and size, I show that the presence of local finance improves job retention and creation at young and small firms. I use natural disasters and regulatory guidance to disentangle the effects of credit supply and demand. I find that an additional standard deviation of local finance offsets the negative effects of the disaster and can lead to 1 to 2% higher employment growth at either young or small firms. Banks increase lending but are not borrowing against future lending, nor do they experience changes in default rates. These findings suggest that local lenders play an important and necessary role in job creation in the economy.
AUTHORS: Cortes, Kristle Romero
DATE: 2014-11-12

Working Paper
Interbank Lending and Distress: Observables, Unobservables, and Network Structure
We provide empirical evidence on the relevance of systemic risk through the interbank lending channel. We adapt a spatial probit model that allows for correlated error terms in the cross-sectional variation that depend on the measured network connections of the banks. The latter are in our application observed interbank exposures among German bank holding companies during 2001 and 2006. The results clearly indicate significant spillover effects between banks? probabilities of distress and the financial profiles of connected peers. Better capitalized and managed connections reduce the banks own risk. Higher network centrality reduces the probability of distress, supporting the notion that more complete networks tend to be more stable. Finally, spatial autocorrelation is significant and negative. This last result may indicate too-many-to-fail mechanics such that bank distress is less likely if many peers already experienced distress.
AUTHORS: Craig, Ben R.; Koetter, Michael; Kruger, Ulrich
DATE: 2014-10-02

Working Paper
Spatial Dependence and Data-Driven Networks of International Banks
This paper computes data-driven correlation networks based on the stock returns of international banks and conducts a comprehensive analysis of their topological properties. We first apply spatial-dependence methods to filter the effects of strong common factors and a thresholding procedure to select the significant bilateral correlations. The analysis of topological characteristics of the resulting correlation networks shows many common features that have been documented in the recent literature but were obtained with private information on banks? exposures. Our analysis validates these market-based adjacency matrices as inputs for the spatio-temporal analysis of shocks in the banking system.
AUTHORS: Craig, Ben R.; Saldias Zambrana, Martin
DATE: 2016-12-02

Working Paper
Technological Innovation in Mortgage Underwriting and the Growth in Credit: 1985-2015
The application of information technology to finance, or ?fintech,? is expected to revolutionize many aspects of borrowing and lending in the future, but technology has been reshaping consumer and mortgage lending for many years. During the 1990s computerization allowed mortgage lenders to reduce loan-processing times and largely replace human-based assessment of credit risk with default predictions generated by sophisticated empirical models. Debt-to-income ratios at origination add little to the predictive power of these models, so the new automated underwriting systems allowed higher debt-to-income ratios than previous underwriting guidelines would have typically accepted. In this way, technology brought about an exogenous change in lending standards, which helped raise the homeownership rate and encourage the conversion of rental properties to owner-occupied ones, but did not have large effects on housing prices. Technological innovation in mortgage underwriting may have allowed the 2000s housing boom to grow, however, because it enhanced the ability of both borrowers and lenders to act on optimistic beliefs about future house-price growth.
AUTHORS: Loewenstein, Lara; Willen, Paul S.; Foote, Christopher L.
DATE: 2018-12-07

Working Paper
The Effect of Safe Assets on Financial Fragility in a Bank-Run Model
Risk-averse investors induce competitive intermediaries to hold safe assets, thereby lowering the probability of a run and reducing financial fragility. We revisit Goldstein and Pauzner (2005), who obtain a unique equilibrium in the banking model of Diamond and Dybvig (1983) by introducing risky investment and noisy private signals. We show that, in the optimal demand-deposit contract subject to sequential service, banks hold safe assets to insure investors against investment risk. Consequently, fewer investors withdraw prematurely, which reduces the probability of a bank run. Safe asset holdings increase investor welfare and may increase the bank?s provision of liquidity.
AUTHORS: Ahnert, Toni; Elamin, Mahmoud
DATE: 2014-12-22

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