661 - Capital regulations and the management of credit commitments during crisis times

DNB Working Papers
Date 12 December 2019

Drawdowns on credit commitments by firms reduce a bank's regulatory capital ratio. Using the Austrian Credit Register, we provide novel evidence that during the 2008-09 financial crisis, capital-constrained banks managed this concern by substantially cutting partly or fully unused credit commitments. Controlling for a bank's capital position, we also find that greater liquidity problems induced banks to considerably cut such credit commitments during the crisis. These results suggest that banks actively manage both capital and liquidity risk caused by undrawn credit commitments in periods of financial distress, but thereby reduce liquidity provision to firms exactly when they need it most.

Keywords: Capital Regulations, Credit Commitments, Financial Crisis.
JEL classifications: E51, G01, G21, G28, G32.