Risk Assessment for Banking Systems
37 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2004
Date Written: January 2003
We propose a new approach to assess the financial stability of an entire banking system using standard tools from modern risk management in combination with a network model of inter-bank loans. Rather than looking at banks individually, we analyze risk at the level of the banking system as a whole. We apply our model to a unique dataset of all Austrian banks. We find that correlation in banks' asset portfolios dominates contagion as the main source of systemic risk. Contagion occurs rarely but can wipe out a major part of the banking system. Low bankruptcy costs and an efficient crisis resolution policy are crucial to limit the system wide impact of contagious default events. We compute the "value at risk" for a lender of last resort and find the necessary funds to prevent contagion to be surprisingly small. More diversification in the inter-bank market does not necessarily reduce the risk of contagion.
Keywords: Systemic Risk, Financial Stability, Risk Management, Inter-bank Market
JEL Classification: G21, C15, C81, E44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation