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Alessio Reghezza

15 September 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2720
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Abstract
This paper investigates the impact of the capital relief package adopted to support euro area banks at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging confidential supervisory and credit register data, we uncover two main findings. First, capital relief measures support banks' capacity to supply credit to firms. Second, not all measures are equally successful. Banks adjust their credit supply only if the capital relief is permanent or implemented through established processes that foresee long release periods. By contrast, discretionary relief measures are met with limited success, possibly owing to the uncertainty surrounding their capital replenishment path. Moreover, requirement releases are more effective for banks with a low capital headroom over requirements and do not trigger additional risk-taking. These findings provide key insights on how to design effective bank capital requirement releases in crisis time.
JEL Code
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
9 September 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2718
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Abstract
Do negative interest rates affect banks’ cost efficiency? We exploit the unprecedented introduction of negative policy interest rates in the euro area to investigate whether banks make a virtue out of necessity in reacting to negative interest rates by adjusting their cost efficiency. We find that banks most affected by negative interest rates responded by enhancing their cost efficiency. We also show that improvements in cost efficiency are more pronounced for banks that are larger, less profitable, with lower asset quality and that operate in more competitive banking sectors. In addition, we document that enhancements in cost efficiency are statistically significant only when breaching the zero lower bound (ZLB), indicating that the pass-through of interest rates to cost efficiency is not effective when policy rates are positive. These findings hold important policy implications as they provide evidence on a beneficial second-order effect of negative interest rates on bank efficiency.
JEL Code
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems
28 February 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2650
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Abstract
We match firm-corporate governance characteristics with firm-level carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the period 2009-2019 to study the relationship between gender diversity in the workplace and firm carbon emissions. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the percentage of female managers within the firm leads to a 0.5% decrease in CO2 emissions. We document that this effect is statically significant, also when controlling for institutional differences caused by more patriarchal and hierarchical cultures and religions. At the same time, we show that gender diversity at the managerial level has stronger mitigating effects on climate change if females are also well-represented outside the organization, e.g. in political institutions and civil society organizations. Finally, we find that, after the Paris Agreement, firms with greater gender diversity reduced their CO2 emissions by about 5% more than firms with more male managers.
JEL Code
G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates
G23 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Non-bank Financial Institutions, Financial Instruments, Institutional Investors
G30 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→General
D62 : Microeconomics→Welfare Economics→Externalities
Q54 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Environmental Economics→Climate, Natural Disasters, Global Warming
16 February 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2644
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Abstract
While regulatory capital buffers are expected to be drawn to absorb losses and meet credit demand during crises, this paper shows that banks were unwilling to do so during the pandemic. To the contrary, banks engaged in forms of pro-cyclical behaviour to preserve capital ratios. By employing granular data from the credit register of the European System of Central Banks, we isolate credit supply effects and find that banks with little headroom above regulatory buffers reduced their lending relative to other banks, also when controlling for a broad range of pandemic support measures. Firms’ inability to reallocate their credit needs to less constrained banks had real economic effects, as their headcount went down, although state guarantee schemes acted as partial mitigants. These findings point to some unintended effects of the capital framework which may create incentives for pro-cyclical behaviour by banks during downturns. They also shed light on the interactions between fiscal and prudential policies which took place during the pandemic.
JEL Code
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
17 November 2021
FINANCIAL STABILITY REVIEW - ARTICLE
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2021
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Abstract
Bank capital buffers are supposed to help banks to absorb losses while maintaining the provision of key financial services to the real economy in times of stress. Capital buffers that are usable along these lines should lessen the damaging effects that can arise from credit supply shortages. Making use of buffers entails using the capital space above regulatory buffers and minimum requirements and, in case of need, also using regulatory buffers. This special feature analyses bank lending behaviour during the pandemic to gain insights into banks’ propensity to use capital buffers and the impact of the regulatory capital relief measures implemented by the authorities. From a macro perspective, the euro area banking system was able to meet credit demand and withstand stress. However, this aggregate view reflects several factors, including the impact of extraordinary policy measures. A micro perspective thus can help to comprehend how the capital buffer framework and capital releases affected banks’ behaviour during the pandemic. A microeconometric analysis shows that the banks with limited capital space above regulatory buffers adjusted their balance sheets by reducing lending, which could be interpreted as an attempt to defend capital ratios, suggesting unwillingness to use capital buffers. The results also show that the regulatory capital relief measures adopted during in the pandemic, which added to banks’ existing capital space, were associated with higher credit supply. while more research is desirable, this suggests that more releasable capital could enhance macroprudential authorities’ ability to act countercyclically when a crisis occurs.
JEL Code
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
28 June 2021
MACROPRUDENTIAL BULLETIN - ARTICLE - No. 13
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Abstract
This article studies the impact of the ECB’s dividend recommendations on banks’ lending and loss-absorption capacity during the COVID-19 crisis. It finds that the policy has been effective in mitigating the potential procyclical adjustment of banks. Banks that did not distribute previously planned dividends increased their lending by around 2.4% and their provisions by approximately 5.5%, thus strengthening their capacity to absorb losses. Notably, the recommendations appear to have mitigated the procyclical behaviour of banks closer to the threshold for automatic restrictions on distributions. Overall, the recommendations were successful in conserving capital and helping the banking system support the real economy and facilitate the recognition of future losses.
JEL Code
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G35 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Payout Policy
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
14 May 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2550
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Abstract
Do climate-oriented regulatory policies affect the flow of credit towards polluting corporations? We match loan-level data to firm-level greenhouse gas emissions to assess the impact of the Paris Agreement. We find that, following this agreement, European banks reallocated credit away from polluting firms. In the aftermath of President Trump’s 2017 announcement that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, lending by European banks to polluting firms in the United States decreased even further in relative terms. It follows that green regulatory initiatives in banking can have a significant impact combating climate change.
JEL Code
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
H23 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Externalities, Redistributive Effects, Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
27 November 2020
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2496
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Abstract
In the current low interest rate environment in the euro area there is potential for a sudden increase in interest rates and heightened interest rate risk (IRR). By using a sample of 81 euro area banks during the period 2014Q4-2018Q1 and a confidential supervisory measure of IRR, this paper identifies which bank-specific characteristics can amplify or weaken the impact of a 200 basis points positive shock in interest rates. We find that banks reliant on core deposits, that hold more floating-interest rate loans and that diversify their lending, either by sector or geography, are less exposed to a positive change in interest rates. Interestingly, we discover that banks that did not exploit the exceptional financing provided by the European Central Bank (ECB) reveal greater IRR exposure. These findings advance the debate on the impact on euro area banking of a possible return to a normalised monetary policy.
JEL Code
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
F44 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→International Business Cycles
6 July 2020
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2440
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Abstract
We investigate the impact of macroprudential capital requirements on bank lending behaviour across economic sectors, focusing on their potentially heterogenous effects and transmission channel. By employing confidential loan-level data for the euro area over 2015-18, we find that the reaction of banks to structural capital surcharges depends on the level of the required capital buffer and the economic sector of the borrowing counterpart. Although tighter buffer requirements correspond to stronger lending contractions, targeted banks curtail their lending towards credit institutions the most, while leaving loan supply to non-financial corporations almost unchanged. We find that this lending is mitigated when banks resort to central bank funding. These results have important policy implications as they provide evidence on the impact of macroprudential policy frameworks and their interaction with unconventional monetary policies.
JEL Code
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
E60 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→General
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
18 November 2019
FINANCIAL STABILITY REVIEW - ARTICLE
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2019
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Abstract
Low aggregate bank profitability in the euro area, which weakens the resilience of the euro area banking sector, is partly explained by the persistent underperformance of a sub-set of banks. These banks all stand out in terms of elevated cost-to-income ratios. But there also appear to be three distinct groups: (i) banks struggling with legacy asset problems; (ii) banks with weak income-generation capacity; and (iii) banks suffering from a combination of cost and revenue-side problems. The common cost inefficiency problem seems most pronounced for the largest and smallest banks. Three strategies, all of which should reduce overcapacity, could address the root causes, while avoiding increasing market power or the systemic footprint of institutions which are already systemically important. For some banks, the focus should be on targeting continued high stocks of NPLs. But in systems with many weak-performing small banks, consolidation within their domestic system could improve performance. Finally, a combination of bank-level restructuring and cross-border M&A activity could help reduce the costs and diversify the revenues of large banks that are performing poorly., (ii) banks with weak income-generation capacity, and (iii) banks suffering from a combination of cost and revenue-side problems. The common cost inefficiency problem seems most pronounced for the largest and smallest banks. Three strategies, all of which should reduce overcapacity, could address the root causes, while avoiding increasing market power or the systemic footprint of institutions which are already systemically important. For some banks, the focus should be on targeting continued high stocks of NPLs. But in systems with many weak-performing small banks, consolidation within their domestic system could improve performance. Finally, a combination of bank-level restructuring and cross-border M&A activity could help reduce the costs and diversify the revenues of large banks that are performing poorly.
JEL Code
Add JEL codes separated by semi-colon. : General Economics and Teaching