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Steven Ongena

24 June 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 498
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Abstract
An extensive empirical literature has documented the positive growth effects of equity market liberalization. However, this line of research ignores the impact of financial integration on a category of firms crucial for economic development, i.e. the small entrepreneurial firms. This paper aims to fill this void. We employ a large panel containing almost 60,000 firm-year observations on listed and unlisted companies in Eastern European economies to assess the differential impact of foreign bank lending on firm growth and financing. Foreign lending stimulates growth in firm sales, assets, and leverage, but the effect is dampened for small firms. We also find that firms started during the transition period of 1989-1993 - arguably the most connected businesses - benefit least from foreign bank entry. This finding suggests that foreign banks can help mitigate connected lending problems and improve capital allocation.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
L14 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Transactional Relationships, Contracts and Reputation, Networks
Network
ECB-CFS Research Network on "Capital Markets and Financial Integration in Europe"
26 July 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 786
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Abstract
There is a long-standing debate about the special nature of banks. Based on a unique dataset of legislative changes in industrial countries, we identify events that strengthen competition policy, analyse their impact on banks and non-financial firms and explain the reactions observed with institutional features that distinguish banking from non-financial sectors. Covering nineteen countries for the period 1987 to 2004, we find that banks are special in that a more competition-oriented regime for merger control increases banks' stock prices, whereas it decreases those of non-financial firms. Moreover, bank merger targets become more profitable and larger. A major determinant of the positive bank returns, after controlling inter alia for the general quality of institutions and individual bank characteristics, is the opaqueness that characterizes the institutional setup for supervisory bank merger reviews. Thus strengthening competition policy in banking may generate positive externalities in the financial system that offset unintended adverse side effects on efficiency introduced through supervisory policies focusing on prudential considerations and financial stability. Legal arrangements governing competition and supervisory control of bank mergers may therefore have important implications for real activity.
JEL Code
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
D4 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing
4 March 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1023
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Abstract
Banks play a special role as providers of informative signals about the quality and value of their borrowers. Such signals, however, may have a quality of their own as the banks' selection and monitoring abilities may differ. Using an event study methodology, we study the importance of the geographical origin and organization of the banks for the investors' assessments of firms' credit quality and economic worth following loan announcements. Our sample comprises 986 announcements of bank loans to U.S. firms over the period of 1980- 2003. We find that investors react positively to such announcements if the loans are made by foreign or local banks, but not if the loans are made by banks that are located outside the firm's headquarters state. Investor reaction is, in fact, the largest when the bank is foreign. Our evidence suggest that investors value relationships with more competitive and skilled banks rather than banks that have easier access to private information about the firms. These results are applicable also to the European markets where regulatory and economic borders do not coincide and bank identities and reputation seem to matter a great deal.
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
H11 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
D80 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→General
Network
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme
21 April 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1179
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Abstract
To identify credit availability we analyze the extensive and intensive margins of lending with loan applications and all loans granted in Spain. We find that during the period analyzed both worse economic and tighter monetary conditions reduce loan granting, especially to firms or from banks with lower capital or liquidity ratios. Moreover, responding to applications for the same loan, weak banks are less likely to grant the loan. Our results suggest that firms cannot offset the resultant credit restriction by turning to other banks. Importantly the bank-lending channel is notably stronger when we account for unobserved time-varying firm heterogeneity in loan demand and quality.
JEL Code
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
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
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
1 October 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1252
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Abstract
We study the effect of interbank market integration on small firm finance in the build-up to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. We use a comprehensive data set that contains contract terms on individual loans to 6,047 firms across 14 European countries between 1998:01 and 2005:12. We account for the selection that arises in the loan request and approval process. Our findings imply that integration of interbank markets resulted in less stringent borrowing constraints and in substantially lower loan rates. The decrease was strongest in markets with competitive banking sectors. We also find that in the most rapidly integrating markets, firms became substantially overleveraged during the build-up to the crisis.
JEL Code
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G34 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Mergers, Acquisitions, Restructuring, Corporate Governance
20 July 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1362
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Abstract
We investigate the effect of securitization activity on banks’ lending standards using evidence from pricing behavior on the syndicated loan market. We find that banks more active at originating asset-backed securities are also more aggressive on their loan pricing practices. This suggests that securitization activity lead to laxer credit standards. Macroeconomic factors also play a large role explaining the impact of securitization activity on bank lending standards: banks more active in the securitization markets loosened more aggressively their lending standards in the run up to the recent financial crisis but also tightened more strongly during the crisis period. As a continuum of this paper we are examining whether individual loans that are eventually securitized are priced more aggressively by using unique European data on individual loans from all major trustees.
JEL Code
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
3 February 2012
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1421
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Abstract
Based on survey data covering 8,387 firms in 20 countries we compare credit demand and credit supply for firms in Eastern Europe to those for firms in selected Western European countries. We find that firms in Eastern Europe have a higher need for credit than firms in Western Europe, and that a higher share of firms is discouraged from applying for a loan. The higher rate of discouraged firms in Eastern Europe is driven more by the presence of foreign banks than by the macroeconomic environment or the lack of creditor protection. We find no evidence that foreign bank presence leads to stricter loan approval decisions. Finally, credit constraints do have a real cost in that firms which are denied credit or discouraged from applying are less likely to invest in R&D and introduce new products.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G30 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→General
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems
5 November 2012
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1488
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Abstract
This paper provides the first empirical evidence that bank regulation is associated with cross-border spillover effects through the lending activities of large multinational banks. We analyze business lending by 155 banks to 9613 firms in 1976 different localities across 16 countries. We find that lower barriers to entry, tighter restrictions on bank activities, and higher minimum capital requirements in domestic markets are associated with lower bank lending standards abroad. The effects are stronger when banks are less efficiently supervised at home, and are observed to exist independently from the impact of host-country regulation.
JEL Code
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
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
Network
Macroprudential Research Network
27 June 2013
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 146
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Abstract
Islamic finance is based on ethical principles in line with Islamic religious law. Despite its low share of the global financial market, Islamic finance has been one of this sector's fastest growing components over the last decades and has gained further momentum in the wake of the financial crisis. The paper examines the development of and possible prospects for Islamic finance, with a special focus on Europe. It compares Islamic and conventional finance, particularly as concerns risks associated with the operations of respective institutions, as well as corporate governance. The paper also analyses empirical evidence comparing Islamic and conventional financial institutions with regard to their: (i) efficiency and profitability; and (ii) stability and resilience. Finally, the paper considers the conduct of monetary policy in an Islamic banking context. This is not uncomplicated given the fact that interest rates - normally a cornerstone of monetary policy - are prohibited under Islamic finance. Liquidity management issues are thus discussed here, with particular reference to the euro area.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
F6 : International Economics→Economic Impacts of Globalization
F65 : International Economics→Economic Impacts of Globalization→Finance
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G22 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Insurance, Insurance Companies, Actuarial Studies
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
G3 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
M14 : Business Administration and Business Economics, Marketing, Accounting→Business Administration→Corporate Culture, Diversity, Social Responsibility
7 July 2015
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1822
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Abstract
This paper studies the causal effect of gender bias on access to bank credit. We extract an exogenous measure of gender bias from survey responses by descendants of US immigrants on questions about the role of women in society. We then use data on 6,000 small business firms from 17 countries and find that in countries with higher gender bias, female-owned firms are more frequently discouraged from applying for bank credit and more likely to rely on informal finance. At the same time, loan rejection rates and terms on granted loans do not vary between male and female firm owners. These results are not driven by credit risk differences between female- and male-owned firms or by any idiosyncrasies in the set of countries in our sample. Overall, the evidence suggests that in high-gender bias countries, female entrepreneurs are more likely to opt out of the loan application process, even though banks do not appear to discriminate against females that apply for credit.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
J16 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Economics of Gender, Non-labor Discrimination
N32 : Economic History→Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy→U.S., Canada: 1913-
Z13 : Other Special Topics→Cultural Economics, Economic Sociology, Economic Anthropology→Economic Sociology, Economic Anthropology, Social and Economic Stratification
8 June 2016
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1918
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Abstract
In this paper, we investigate the economy-wide effects of the collateral channel by exploiting: (i) a legal reform in Sweden in 2004 that reduced collateral values, and (ii) a dataset that covers all incorporated firms in Sweden over the period 2000-2006. We find that the loss in collateral value reduces both the amount and the maturity of firm debt and leads firms to contract investment, employment, and assets. The legal reform may distort investment and asset allocation decisions, as firms that reduce their holdings of assets with low collaterizable value and firms that hold more liquid assets consequently become less productive and innovative. Our results therefore document the potency of a collateral channel outside of a crisis.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
G31 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Capital Budgeting, Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies, Capacity
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
Network
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme
13 July 2016
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1937
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Abstract
Using proprietary data on banks
JEL Code
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt
1 February 2017
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2009
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Abstract
Banks are usually better informed on the loans they originate than other financial intermediaries. As a result, securitized loans might be of lower credit quality than otherwise similar non-securitized loans. We assess the effect of securitization activity on loans
JEL Code
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
20 November 2018
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2202
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Abstract
Do borrowers demand less credit from banks with weak balance sheet positions? To answer this question we use novel bank-specific survey data matched with confidential balance sheet information on a large set of euro area banks. We find that, following a conventional monetary policy shock, bank balance sheet strength influences not only credit supply but also credit demand. The resilience of lenders plays an important role for firms when selecting whom to borrow from. We also assess the impact on credit origination of unconventional monetary policies using survey responses on the exposure of individual banks to quantitative easing and negative interest rate policies. We find that both policies do stimulate loan supply even after fully controlling for bank-specific demand, borrower quality, and balance sheet strength.
JEL Code
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
Network
Research Task Force (RTF)
30 January 2019
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2230
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Abstract
This paper provides evidence on the strategic lending decisions made by banks facing a negative funding shock. Using bank-firm level credit data, we show that banks reallocate credit within their loan portfolio in at least three different ways. First, banks reallocate to sectors where they have a high market share. Second, they also reallocate to sectors in which they are more specialized. Third, they reallocate credit towards low-risk firms. These reallocation effects are economically large. A standard deviation increase in sector market share, sector specialization or firm soundness reduces the transmission of the funding shock to credit supply by 22, 8 and 10%, respectively.
JEL Code
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
Network
Research Task Force (RTF)
28 October 2019
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2322
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Abstract
Why do residential mortgages carry a fixed or an adjustable interest rate? To answer this question we study unique data from 103 banks belonging to 73 different banking groups across twelve countries in the euro area. To explain the large cross-country and time variation observed, we distinguish between the conditions that determine the local demand for credit and the characteristics of banks that supply credit. As bank funding mostly occurs at the group level, we disentangle these two sets of factors by comparing the outcomes observed for the same banking group across the different countries. Local demand conditions dominate. In particular we find that the share of new loans with a fixed rate is larger when: (1) the historical volatility of inflation is lower, (2) the correlation between unemployment and the short-term interest rate is higher, (3) households' financial literacy is lower, and (4) the use of local mortgages to back covered bonds and mortgage-backed securities is more widespread.
JEL Code
F23 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→Multinational Firms, International Business
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G41 : Financial Economics
18 December 2020
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2508
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Abstract
We study the effects of the diversification of funding sources on the financing conditions for firms. We exploit a regulatory reform which took place in Italy in 2012, i.e., the introduction of “minibonds”, which opened a new market-based funding opportunity for unlisted firms. Using the Italian Credit Register, we investigate the impact of minibond issuance on bank credit conditions for issuer firms, both at the firm-bank and firm level. We compare new loans granted to issuer firms with new loans concurrently granted to similar non-issuer firms. We find that issuer firms obtain lower interest rates on bank loans of the same maturity than non-issuer firms, suggesting an improvement in their bargaining power with banks. In addition, issuer firms reduce the amount of used bank credit but increase the overall amount of available external funds, pointing to a substitution with bank credit and to a diversification of corporate funding sources. Studying their ex-post performance, we find that issuer firms expand their total assets and fixed assets, and also raise their leverage.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G23 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Non-bank Financial Institutions, Financial Instruments, Institutional Investors
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
G38 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Government Policy and Regulation
14 May 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2551
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Abstract
Using a difference-in-differences approach and relying on confidential supervisory data and an unique proprietary data set available at the European Central Bank related to the 2016 EU-wide stress test, this paper presents novel empirical evidence that supervisory scrutiny associated to stress testing has a disciplining effect on bank risk. We find that banks that participated in the 2016 EU-wide stress test subsequently reduced their credit risk relative to banks that were not part of this exercise. Relying on new metrics for supervisory scrutiny that measure the quantity, potential impact, and duration of interactions between banks and supervisors during the stress test, we find that the disciplining effect is stronger for banks subject to more intrusive supervisory scrutiny during the exercise.
JEL Code
G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions
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