The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines episodes of the banking system distress and crisis in a large sample of countries. The empirical results identify several macroeconomic and financial variables as useful leading indicators. The main macroeconomic indicators were of limited value in predicting the Asian crises; the best warning signs were proxies for the vulnerability of the banking and corporate sector. Full-blown banking crises are shown to be more associated with external developments, and domestic variables are the main leading indicators of severe but contained banking distress.