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.
We examine the risks to bank soundness associated with credit booms in a large set of countries. Using bank-level data in 90 countries between 1995 and 2005, we analyze the relationship between credit growth and bank soundness taking into account the potential two-way causality. We find that, while sounder banks tend to grow faster at moderate-growth periods, credit growth becomes less dependent on soundness during booms. These findings shed some light on why credit booms are often associated with financial crises.