News Release

Low interest rates led to banks’ risky behavior — and failures

Evidence abounds that in the decade leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, banks significantly expanded their loan portfolios, often by extending loans to risky customers, and financing themselves primarily with debt. This led to a rash of bank failures as banks’ loans failed to repay.

A new University of California, Davis, study says that the low interest rate environment that prevailed throughout most of that period was likely an important determinant of that risky behavior.

“It wasn’t until after the crisis that people, including policymakers as well as academic economists, started realizing that the level of interest rates may induce particular bank behavior,” said Robert S. Marquez, a professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “Prior to the crisis, few expected that low interest rates for extended periods were problematic and could have led to bank failures as there was very little, if any, guidance on this issue.”

The paper, soon to be published in the Journal of Economic Theory, establishes a link between interest rates and the risk-taking decisions by banks. In particular, the paper shows that reductions in real interest rates, such as occur as part of a monetary expansion, lead banks to increase their leverage and expand their loan portfolio.

In addition, the expansion in lending is primarily to borrowers who are less likely to repay their loans in full. This makes the bank itself riskier and more prone to failure.

He said strict enforcement of strong equity-to-debt ratios could help forestall a crash in a weak economy being stimulated by monetary policy, but it might be unnecessarily restrictive in a good economy where capital forbearance would help solvent banks remain afloat.

“To the extent, however, that low interest rate periods may sow the seeds of future crises, care needs to be taken in balancing the two objectives of price and financial stability,” he said.

Marquez and co-authors plan future research into how monetary policy might prevent excessive risk-taking that could have led to some bank failures.

The paper, “Real interest rates, leverage, and bank risk-taking” is available online at ScienceDirect website.

Besides Marquez, co-authors are Giovanni Dell’Ariccia and Luc Laeven, both of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Economic Policy Research.

About the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

Dedicated to preparing innovative leaders for global impact, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the premier business schools in the United States and internationally. The school’s faculty members are globally renowned for their teaching excellence and pioneering research in advancing management thinking and best practices. With prime locations in Northern California’s economic hubs, the school provides a bold, innovative approach to management education to more than 550 full-time MBA students and Master of Professional Accountancy students at the UC Davis campus, and part-time MBA students in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Media contact(s):

Commands

Twitter Feed

Loading tweets...

News Release

UC Davis Graduate School of Management partners with Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs to drive technologies from lab to market

Image of UC Davis Graduate School of Management partners with Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs to drive technologies from lab to market

(Davis, Calif.) – With a joint goal of speeding the transfer of new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have announced a new partnership for researchers to develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Spotlight Story

Vickie Sherman MBA 13 Finds Her Passion, Her Career—and Herself

Image of Vickie Sherman MBA 13 Finds Her Passion, Her Career—and Herself

What opportunities, decisions, events have shaped your professional life?

My career path has been a climb across a jungle gym rather than a tangent up a corporate ladder. As a child, I used to thumb through the three-inch JCPenney catalogue, picking out the professional women who I would grow to be. I wanted to rule the world from a corner office in a suit and heels. I wanted to shed my humble origins and become Corporate Barbie.

Spotlight Story

MBA Student Consultants Make an IMPACT
Projects Put Business Needs Front and Center

Image of MBA Student Consultants Make an IMPACT

Agilent Technologies’ Electronic Measurement Group is a $3.6 billion business that over the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in its customer base from U.S., and Western European customers to predominantly Asia-based customers. Today, the majority of the division’s revenues are generated outside of the U.S., with an increasing concentration in China.

Spotlight Story

UC Davis Part-Time MBA in Top 8%, Full-Time MBA in Top 9%
U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings: This marks the 19th consecutive year our MBA program has been ranked among the best in the nation.

Image of  UC Davis Part-Time MBA in Top 8%, Full-Time MBA in Top 9%

(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s full-time MBA program has been ranked among the top six percent of AACSB International-accredited programs nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings released today.