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Alessio Reghezza

22 November 2023
FINANCIAL STABILITY REVIEW - ARTICLE
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2023
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Abstract
This special feature builds on the concept of maturity gap as a metric of banks’ maturity mismatch to shed light on how banks’ engagement in maturity transformation differs across euro area countries and bank types. Banks can mitigate the interest rate risk stemming from their maturity mismatch by using derivatives for hedging purposes. Euro area banks increased their positions in interest rate derivatives over the last two years in anticipation of the start of monetary policy normalisation. Significant institutions rely more than cooperative and savings banks on interest rate derivatives and have a more diversified positioning. A box within the special feature finds that this greater reliance on derivatives was not sufficient to compensate for the material increase in interest rate risk. The extent of banks’ maturity mismatch determines the sensitivity of their net interest income to changes in interest rates and the slope of the yield curve. This special feature provides empirical evidence that the more banks engage in maturity transformation, the more their net interest margin benefits from a steepening of the yield curve, boosting bank profits. This effect might dissipate going forward, especially for banks in countries where variable-rate lending predominates.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
10 November 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2872
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Abstract
This study examines whether the level of environmental disclosure in banks’ financial reports matches less brown lending portfolios. Using granular credit register data and detailed information on firm-level greenhouse gas emission intensities, we find a negative relationship between environmental disclosure and brown lending. However, this effect is contingent on the tone of the financial report. Banks that express a negative tone, reflecting genuine concern and awareness of environmental risks, tend to lend less to more polluting firms. Conversely, banks that express a positive tone, indicating lower concern and awareness of environmental risks, tend to lend more to polluting firms. These findings highlight the importance of increasing awareness of environmental risks, so that banks perceive them as a critical and urgent pressing threat, leading to a genuine commitment to act as environmentally responsible lenders.
JEL Code
G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
M41 : Business Administration and Business Economics, Marketing, Accounting→Accounting and Auditing→Accounting
Q56 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Environmental Economics→Environment and Development, Environment and Trade, Sustainability, Environmental Accounts and Accounting, Environmental Equity, Population Growth
31 May 2023
FINANCIAL STABILITY REVIEW - BOX
Financial Stability Review Issue 1, 2023
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Abstract
This box investigates recent changes in the cost and the composition of bank deposits. It provides estimates of the sensitivity of banks’ deposit rates to changes in policy rates, demonstrating that this depends on the type of deposit and on bank-specific characteristics. Moreover, it finds that competition in the term deposit market has been increasing recently. It goes on to show that, since the beginning of 2022, higher interest rates have increased non-financial corporations’ appetite for better remunerated deposit types, shifting banks’ deposit mixes away from stickier overnight deposits towards rate-sensitive term deposits. Finally, it hints that, going forward, rising competition and a reallocation of funds from overnight to term deposits may lead to an increase in the cost of deposits that is faster and larger than expected.
JEL Code
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
26 May 2023
RESEARCH BULLETIN - No. 107
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Abstract
At the onset of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, central banks and supervisors introduced dividend restrictions as a new policy instrument aimed at supporting lending to the real economy and strengthening banks' capacity to absorb losses. In this paper we estimate the impact of the ECB's dividend recommendationon on bank lending and risk-taking. To address identification issues, we rely on credit registry data and a direct measure that captures variation in compliance with the recommendation across banks in the euro area. The analysis disentangles the confounding effects stemming from the wide range of monetary and fiscal policies that supported credit during the pandemic-related downturn and investigates their interaction with the dividend recommendation. We find that dividend restrictions have been an effective policy in supporting financially constrained firms, adding capital space to banks, and limiting procyclical behaviour. The effects on lending are greater for small and medium-sized enterprises and for firms operating in sectors more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. At the same time, we do not find evidence of a significant increase in lending to riskier borrowers and "zombie" firms.
JEL Code
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
21 March 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2796
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Abstract
At the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, central banks and supervisors introduced dividend restrictions as a new policy instrument aimed at supporting lending to the real economy and strengthening banks’ capacity to absorb losses. In this paper we estimate the impact of the ECB’s dividend recommendation on bank lending and risk-taking. To address identification issues, we rely on credit registry data and a direct measure that captures variation in compliance with the recommendation across banks in the euro area. The analysis disentangles the confounding effects stemming from the wide range of monetary and fiscal policies that supported credit during the Covid-19 downturn and investigates their interaction with the dividend recommendation. We find that dividend restrictions have been an effective policy in supporting financially constrained firms, adding capital space to banks, and limiting procyclical behaviour. The effects on lending are larger for small and medium enterprises and for firms operating in Covid-19 vulnerable sectors. At the same time, we do not find evidence of a significant increase in lending to riskier borrowers and ”zombie” firms.
JEL Code
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
10 October 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2741
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Abstract
Do female directors on banks’ boards influence lending decisions toward less polluting firms? By using granular credit register data matched with information on firm-level greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensities, we isolate credit supply shifts and find that banks with more gender-diverse boards provide less credit to browner companies. This evidence is robust when we differentiate among types of GHG emissions and control for endogeneity concerns. In addition, we also show that female director-specific characteristics matter for lending behavior to polluting firms as better-educated directors grant lower credit volumes to more polluting firms. Finally, we document that the “greening” effect of the female members in banks’ boardrooms is stronger in countries with more female climate-oriented politicians.
JEL Code
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G30 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→General
Q50 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Environmental Economics→General
15 September 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2720
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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.