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Bank Complexity, Governance, and Risk
Bank holding companies (BHCs) can be complex organizations, conducting multiple lines of business through many distinct legal entities and across a range of geographies. While such complexity raises the costs of bank resolution when organizations fail, the effect of complexity on BHCs’ broader risk profiles is less well understood. Business, organizational, and geographic complexity can engender explicit trade-offs between the agency problems that increase risk and the diversification, liquidity management, and synergy improvements that reduce risk. The outcomes of such trade-offs may ...
Complexity in Large U.S. Banks
The structural complexity of the largest U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) has been changing. Following the global financial crisis, the simplification of bank complexity was a policy priority. Using a variety of measures of organizational, business, and geographic complexity, the authors show that large U.S. BHCs nonetheless remain very complex. Organizational complexity has declined, as the average number of legal entities within large U.S. BHCs has fallen. By contrast, the range of industries spanned by legal entities within the BHCs has shifted more than it has declined, especially ...