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Keywords:corporate governance 

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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 ...
Staff Reports , Paper 930

Working Paper
Information Disclosures, Default Risk, and Bank Value

This paper investigates the causal effects of voluntary information disclosures on a bank's expected default probability, enterprise risk, and value. I measure disclosure via a self-constructed index for the largest 80 U.S. bank holding companies for the period 1998-2011. I provide evidence that a bank's management responds to a plausibly exogenous deterioration in the supply of public information by increasing its voluntary disclosure, which in turn improves investors' assessment of the bank risk and value. This evidence suggests that disclosure may alleviate informational frictions and lead ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-104

Working Paper
Corporate Governance and Risk Management at Unprotected Banks: National Banks in the 1890s

Managers' incentives may conflict with those of shareholders or creditors, particularly at leveraged, opaque banks. Bankers may abuse their control rights to give themselves excessive salaries, favored access to credit, or to take excessive risks that benefit themselves at the expense of depositors. Banks must design contracting and governance structures that sufficiently resolve agency problems so that they can attract funding from outside shareholders and depositors. We examine banks from the 1890s, a period when there were no distortions from deposit insurance or government interventions ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-08

Journal Article
The Gordon Gekko effect: the role of culture in the financial industry

Culture is a potent force in shaping individual and group behavior, yet it has received scant attention in the context of financial risk management and the 2007-09 financial crisis. This article presents a brief overview of the role of culture as it is seen by psychologists, sociologists, and economists, and then describes a specific framework for analyzing culture in the context of financial practices and institutions. Using this framework, the author addresses three questions: (1) what is culture? (2) does it matter? and (3) can it be changed? He illustrates the utility of this framework by ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Aug , Pages 17-42

Journal Article
Bank corporate governance: a proposal for the post-crisis world

The corporate governance problems of banks are qualitatively and quantitatively different from those of other firms. The authors argue that a key factor contributing to this difference is the growing opacity and complexity of bank activities, a trend that has increased the difficulty of managing risk in financial firms. They also cite the governance challenges posed by the holding company organization of banks, in which two boards of directors?the bank?s own board and the board of the holding company that owns the bank?monitor the bank. This paradigm results in significant confusion about the ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Aug , Pages 85-105

Journal Article
Risk management, governance, culture, and risk taking in banks

This article examines how governance, culture, and risk management affect risk taking in banks. It distinguishes between good risks, which are risks that have an ex ante private reward for the bank on a standalone basis, and bad risks, which do not have such a reward. A well-governed bank takes the amount of risk that maximizes shareholder wealth, subject to constraints imposed by laws and regulators. In general, this involves eliminating or mitigating all bad risks to the extent that it is cost effective to do so. The role of risk management in such a bank is not to reduce the bank?s total ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Aug , Pages 43-60

Journal Article
The role of financial reporting and transparency in corporate governance

The authors review recent literature on the role of corporate financial reporting and transparency in reducing governance-related agency conflicts between managers, directors, shareholders, and other stakeholders?most notably financial regulators?and suggest some avenues for future research. Key themes include the endogenous nature of governance mechanisms with respect to information asymmetry between contracting parties, the heterogeneous nature of the informational demands of contracting parties, and the corresponding heterogeneity of the associated governance mechanisms. The authors also ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Aug , Pages 107-128

Journal Article
Introduction and appendix to Behavioral Risk Management in the Financial Services Industry: The Role of Culture, Governance, and Financial Reporting

This volume, four years in the making, includes nine research papers that aim to identify and understand the key factors affecting governance and culture in the banking industry. The volume is divided into two complementary parts. Part I introduces the concept of culture and its importance to risk management and financial stability. The articles present a framework for diagnosing and changing culture, describe how corporate culture is shaped, explore the importance of effective risk management, and examine the roles of deferred cash compensation and bank cash holdings in promoting financial ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Aug , Pages 1-2

Working Paper
Why does the FDIC sue?

Cases the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) pursues against the directors and officers of failed commercial banks for (gross) negligence are important for the corporate governance of U.S. commercial banks. These cases shape the kernel of bank corporate governance, as they guide expectations of bankers and regulators in defining the limits of acceptable behavior under financial distress. We examine the differences in behavior of all 408 U.S. commercial banks that were taken into receivership between 2007?2012. Sued banks had different balance sheet dynamics in the three years prior ...
Working Papers , Paper 1601

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