Have public bailouts made banks' loan books safer?

17 September 2012

In response to the financial crisis, the authorities in a number of countries used public funds to recapitalise their banks. Did a reduction of risk in banks' lending follow these rescue operations? To help answer this question, we analyse the balance sheets and syndicated loan signings of 87 large internationally active banks. As loan signing volumes started diminishing across the board in 2009, our evidence shows that rescued banks did not reduce the risk of their new lending significantly more than non-rescued banks. Our results are relevant for the ongoing assessment of public bank rescue programmes.

JEL classification: G15, G21, G32, E51.