Do all firms have equal access to external financing?
Neil Kay, Gavin Murphy, Conor O'Toole, Iulia Siedschlag, Brian O'Connell 29 June 2014
Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) often report difficulties in obtaining external finance. Based on new research, this column argues that these difficulties are not due to greater financial risks associated with SMEs. Instead, they are the result of imperfections in the market for external finance that negatively affect smaller and younger enterprises. The same research has shown that these types of firms are also the most reliant on external finance to support their investment and growth.
The proportion of bank loan acceptances has fallen significantly following the crisis, along with the level of enterprise investment. The sharpest falls in both have been in countries hardest hit by the crisis. While in a number of countries – such as Finland, Malta, and Sweden – the declines have been modest, in others – such as in Bulgaria, Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania, Spain, and Greece – they have approached or exceeded 30%.
Figure 1. Percentage change in bank loan acceptances
EU policies Financial markets
investment, lending, credit, Finance, SMEs, credit rationing, borrowing, information asymmetries
The ‘fear factor’: Personal experience and risk aversion in times of crisis
Peter Koudijs, Hans-Joachim Voth 12 April 2014
Human behaviour in times of financial crises is difficult to understand, but critical to policymaking. This column discusses new evidence showing that personal experience in financial markets can dramatically change risk tolerance. A cleanly identified historical episode demonstrates that even without losses, negative shocks not only modify risk appetite, but can also create ‘leverage cycles’. These, in turn, have the potential to make markets extremely fragile. Remarkably, those who witnessed this episode but were not directly threatened by it, did not change their own behaviour. Thus, personal experience can be a powerful determinant of investors’ actions and can eventually affect aggregate instability.
To paraphrase Larry Summers, some people are scared – just look around. The crisis of 2007–08 took a toll on a lot of people, investors included. What seemed to be a new age of steady, moderately high growth and stable equity returns suddenly turned into the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s:
Economic history Financial markets
financial markets, crisis, behaviour, risk aversion, lending
Foreign bank lending during the Crisis: Evidence on branches vs subsidiaries
John Hooley, Glenn Hoggarth, Yevgeniya Korniyenko 14 February 2014
The recent crisis revealed that lending by foreign banks can be more cyclical than that by domestic banks. This column presents research showing that bank ownership structure mattered, at least in the case of the UK. Foreign bank branches cut their lending more sharply than did foreign subsidiaries, thus, amplifying the domestic credit cycle. This finding suggests policymakers should pay close attention to risks that stem from foreign bank branches when they are ‘alive’, not only when they are ‘dead’ and pose an even greater financial instability.
Foreign banks contribute potentially large longer-term benefits to their host economies (see, for example, Claessens and van Horen 2012). But the experience of the recent crisis has revealed that their lending can be more cyclical than that of domestic banks (Cetorelli and Goldberg 2011, Claessens and van Horen 2012, De Haas and Lelyveld 2011). The financial stability impact of retrenchment by foreign banks has been a major concern for some economies.
Global crisis International finance
global crisis, foreign banks, lending, foreign subsidiaries
Dark side of housing-price appreciation
Indraneel Chakraborty, Itay Goldstein, Andrew MacKinlay 25 November 2013
Higher asset prices increase the value of firms’ collateral, strengthen banks’ balance sheets, and increase households’ wealth. These considerations perhaps motivated the Federal Reserve’s intervention to support the housing market. However, higher housing prices may also lead banks to reallocate their portfolios from commercial and industrial loans to real-estate loans. This column presents the first evidence on this crowding-out effect. When housing prices increase, banks on average reduce commercial lending and increase interest rates, leading related firms to cut back on investment.
Policymakers around the world often worry about decreases in real-estate prices and other asset prices, and take measures to prevent them. For example, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has engaged in large-scale asset purchases – especially of mortgage-backed assets – to support the housing market and, in turn, the overall economy.
Financial markets Monetary policy
housing, Federal Reserve, investment, asset prices, banks, lending, real estate
From sovereign turmoil to private-sector woes: Italian sovereign spreads and their pass-through to bank lending conditions
Edda Zoli 15 June 2013
What has driven Italian sovereign spreads movements? This column presents new research looking into increased volatility in sovereign debt since the summer of 2011. Shocks in investor risk appetite, news related to the Eurozone debt crisis, and consistently bad news in Italy, have been important drivers of Italian sovereign spreads. These findings mean that we need to reduce country-specific vulnerabilities as well as sorting out the Eurozone.
Volatility in the Italian sovereign-debt market intensified in the summer of 2011, with ten-year government bond spreads climbing from below 200 basis points in June to over 500 at end-2011 and falling again in July 2012. In January of this year, they fell further to below 300 basis points. The sovereign turmoil ignited a vicious cycle of rising funding costs for banks, increasing borrowing costs for firms and households, and contracting credit and output.
Europe's nations and regions
Italy, sovereign debt, banking, lending
Who gets the credit? And does it matter? Household vs. firm lending across countries
Thorsten Beck, Berrak Buyukkarabacak, Felix Rioja, Neven Valev 09 July 2009
How does financial development affect macroeconomic outcomes? Previous studies have relied on aggregate measures. This column introduces a data set that distinguishes between lending to enterprises and households and investigates the consequences for economic growth, income inequality, and consumption smoothing.
An extensive literature has documented the positive effect of financial development on economic growth and poverty reduction (Rajan and Zingales 1998; Beck, Levine and Loayza, 2000; Beck, Demirguc-Kunt and Levine, 2007).
Development Financial markets
financial development, household credit, enterprise credit, lending, credit constraints