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 the recent banking crises in Finland, Norway and Sweden in an attempt to draw some policy conclusions from their experiences. In all three countries, the timing of deregulation coincided with a strongly expansionary macroeconomic momentum. Delayed policy responses, as well as structural characteristics of the financial systems, and banks’ inadequate internal risk management controls were important determinants of the consequences of the transition from tightly regulated to more or less competitive financial systems. In the absence of strengthened prudential banking supervision, these incentives coupled with expectations of government intervention in the event of a crisis prompted many Nordic banks to increase their lending excessively.