Bank Fundamentals, Bank Failures and Market Discipline: An Empirical Analysis for Emerging Markets During the Nineties
Arena, Marco Antonio
Reinhart, Carmen M
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After the East Asian crisis, there has been a renewed interest in both academic and policy circles about the role that bank weaknesses play in contributing to systemic banking crisis. Even though, it has been recognized in the recent theoretical literature on banking crises that both macroeconomic and bank-level fundamentals have to be taken into account in the explanation of systemic banking crisis, to date, there is little cross-country empirical evidence for emerging markets on the role of bank weaknesses in contributing to both sudden deposit withdrawals and bank failures. In this context, my thesis analyzes the episodes of systemic banking crisis in Latin America (Argentina, 1995; Mexico, 1994; and Venezuela, 1994) and East Asia (Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand in 1997) using bank-level data in order to answer the following questions. First, to what extent, did financial conditions of individual banks explain bank failures? Did only the weakest banks, in terms of their fundamentals, fail in the crisis countries? Second, did depositors in crisis countries discipline riskier banks by withdrawing their deposits in such a way that deposit withdrawals could be considered an act of market discipline? The results for East Asia and Latin America show that bank-level fundamentals both affect significantly the likelihood of failure and explain a high proportion of the likelihood of failure of failed banks (around fifty percent). In East Asian crisis countries, there was little overlap in the distribution of logit propensity scores between failed and non-failed banks, implying that mainly the weakest banks failed. However, in Latin American crisis countries, there was a much clear overlap in the distribution of logit propensity scores, implying that banking system and macroeconomic shocks are relatively much more important in Latin America. Regarding market discipline, a stable model of bank-level fundamentals explains the growth rate of deposits in both regions even during the peak of the crisis periods. However, in both regions, the relative contribution of bank level fundamentals during the peak of the crisis periods declined. In this context, to some degree, the observed deposit withdrawals represented an informed market response to observable bank weaknesses.