Bank capital requirements and balance sheet management practices: has the relationship changed after the crisis?

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 09 December 2016

Working Paper No. 635
By Sebastian J A de-Ramon, William B Francis and Qun Harris 

We use a proprietary database of individual UK capital requirements spanning 1989 to 2013 and panel regression techniques to evaluate whether the effects of capital requirements on banks’ balance sheet adjustments changed after the 2008–09 financial crisis. We find that after the crisis banks placed more emphasis on overall asset de-leveraging. A 1 percentage point increase in capital requirements lowered total asset growth by 14 basis points before the crisis and 20 basis points after the crisis. We also find evidence of a structural change in banks’ capital management practices, with banks increasing better-quality, Tier 1 capital significantly more in response to higher requirements after the crisis than they did before the crisis. However, the effects of capital requirements on lending and risk-weighted asset growth both before and after the crisis are similar. Our results suggest that both before and after the crisis, a 1 percentage point increase in capital requirements lowered annual loan (risk-weighted asset) growth by 8 (12) basis points.

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