OECD Economics Department Working Papers
Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.
The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.
The State of the Banking Sector in Europe
This paper reviews the state of the banking sector in Europe. At the aggregate level, the empirical data suggest that the Baltics, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland, in particular, are hit by a strong decline in lending in the wake of the financial crisis. This deleveraging is mainly caused by a reduction in cross-border supply of credit. We also examine the capital position of the European banking system, using November 2013 stock market data. In the basic scenario to restore capital to a market based leverage ratio of 3%, EUR 84 billion of extra capital would be needed for the largest 60 banks.
At the bank level, the top tertile of well-capitalised banks (with a market based leverage ratio well above 4%) continues lending. By contrast, the 2nd tertile of medium-capitalised banks (between 3 and 4%) and the 3rd tertile of weakly capitalised banks (well below 3%) show a strong decline in lending. Moreover, the market-to-book ratio is below one for these banks. The market thus gives a lower value to these banks.
Our findings provide prima facie evidence of a credit crunch in Europe. Another fallout of the financial crisis is an increase, though very modest, of concentration in banking in the distressed countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy). The enhancement of financial stability through (forced) M&As seems to come at the expense of reduced competition.
Keywords: cross-border banking, geographical segmentation, capital, deleveraging, banks, credit supply
G32: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill;
G22: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies;
G38: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation