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Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
Sheheryar Malik and Ms. TengTeng Xu
Interconnectedness among global systemically important banks (GSIBs) and global systemically important insurers (GSIIs) has important financial stability implications. This paper examines connectedness among United States, European and Asian GSIBs and GSIIs, using publicly-available daily equity returns and intra-day volatility data from October 2007 to August 2016. Results reveal strong regional clusters of return and volatility connectedness amongst GSIBs and GSIIs. Compared to Asia, selected GSIBs and GSIIs headquartered in the United States and Europe appear to be main sources of market-based connectedness. Total system connectedness—i.e., among all GSIBs and GSIIs—tends to rise during financial stress, which is corroborated by a balance sheet oriented systemic risk measure. Lastly, the paper demonstrates significant influence of economic policy uncertainty and U.S. long-term interest rates on total connectedness among systemically important institutions, and the important role of bank profitability and asset quality in driving bank-specific return connectedness.
Moisés J. Schwartz and Shinji Takagi

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

Bahar Öztürk and Mr. Mico Mrkaic
The monetary transmission mechanism in the euro area has been adversely affected by the recent crises. Using survey data on thousands of euro area firms, we study factors that affect the access to finance of SMEs. We find that changes in bank funding costs and borrower leverage matter for firms’ access to finance. Increases in bank funding costs and borrowers’ debt-to-asset ratios are significantly and negatively associated with firms’ access to finance. The use of subsidies significantly improve access to finance of SMEs. Finally, access to finance is found to be positively related to firm size and firm age.
Mr. Charles Enoch, Mr. Luc Everaert, Mr. Thierry Tressel, and Ms. Jianping Zhou

Abstract

From Fragmentation to Financial Integration in Europe is a comprehensive study of the European Union financial system. It provides an overview of the issues central to securing a safer financial system for the European Union and looks at the responses to the global financial crisis, both at the macro level—the pendulum of financial integration and fragmentation—and at the micro level—the institutional reforms that are taking place to address the crisis. The emerging financial sector management infrastructure, including the proposed Single Supervisory Mechanism and other elements of a banking union for the euro area, are also discussed in detail.

International Monetary Fund
Following the global financial crisis of 2008-09, regional financing arrangements (RFAs) have been recognized as an important layer of the global financial safety net. This paper summarizes the current landscape of RFAs, and discusses IMF-RFA coordination to date and options for enhancing cooperation going forward. In so doing, it intends to contribute to discussions underway at international fora and solicit views from the Fund and RFA memberships on how to enhance cooperation
International Monetary Fund
The countercyclical capital buffer (CCB) was proposed by the Basel committee to increase the resilience of the banking sector to negative shocks. The interactions between banking sector losses and the real economy highlight the importance of building a capital buffer in periods when systemic risks are rising. Basel III introduces a framework for a time-varying capital buffer on top of the minimum capital requirement and another time-invariant buffer (the conservation buffer). The CCB aims to make banks more resilient against imbalances in credit markets and thereby enhance medium-term prospects of the economy—in good times when system-wide risks are growing, the regulators could impose the CCB which would help the banks to withstand losses in bad times.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2012 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) finds increased risks to the global financial system, with the euro area crisis the principal source of concern, and urges policymakers to act now to restore confidence, reverse capital flight, and reintegrate the euro zone. This GFSR presents a report on whether regulatory reforms are moving the financial system in the right direction, and finds that progress has been limited, partly because many reforms are in the early stages of implementation and partly because crisis intervention methods are still in use in a number of economies, delaying the movement of the financial system onto a safer path. The final chapter examines whether certain aspects of financial structure enhance economic outcomes. Indeed, some structural features are associated with better outcomes. In particular, financial buffers made up of high-quality capital and truly liquid assets tend to be associated with better economic performance.

International Monetary Fund
This report summarizes the findings of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) Update for Spain. Although there is a core of strong banks that are well managed and appear resilient to further shocks, vulnerabilities remain. Substantial progress has been made in reforming the former savings banks, and the most vulnerable institutions have either been resolved or are being restructured. Recent measures address the most problematic part of banks’ portfolios. Moving ahead, a further restructuring and recapitalization of some of the remaining weaker banks may be needed as a result of deteriorating economic conditions.