Currency Credit Networks of International Banks
During the Global Financial Crisis, institutions which were monitoring and regulating Banking systems realized that there are gaps in data to get a better understanding of cross border lending by Banks.
Bank of International Settlement BIS collects and publishes following datasets:
- Consolidated Banking Statistics (CBS)
- Locational Banking Statistics (LBS)
From US Banks’ International Balance Sheet Linkages: A Data Survey
International financial linkages are mostly established through banks’ lending and borrowing across the borders. Still, very little is known on the actual geographical composition of banks’ foreign balance sheet positions due to the fact that existing bilateral banking statistics is rather incomplete and scant both at the aggregate and micro level ( (Cerutti, et al., 2011); (Fender & Patrick, 2009); (McGuire & von Peter, 2009)). At the micro level, in particular, bilateral positions of banks by location of counterparty are neither collected by the regulator nor available from commercial databases (Herrero & Martinez Peira, 2007).
At the macro level, the Consolidated Banking Statistics (CBS) published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is the most complete data source publicly available on aggregate bilateral claims of banks, available on a comparable cross-country basis and collected according to the nationality principle1. The CBS is best suited to assess country risk, as it reports gross claims of home and worldwide offices reported by national banks to individual foreign countries.
The consolidation within the CBS, however, does not allow to quantify gross cross-border bilateral positions that banks have vis-à-vis their foreign affiliates. Important direct linkages can, indeed, arise through cross-border positions with banks’ foreign-related entities, such as branches or subsidiaries, especially in those countries, such as the US, where foreign-related offices are the largest foreign counterparties of domestic banks.
Moreover, bilateral banking liabilities are not publicly available within the CBS preventing the assessment of other important macro risks arising from international banking activity, most notably funding and global systemic risks. The Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS) at the the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has recently announced that the latter limitation is being tackled in the new reporting regime in which banks must disclose also bilateral liabilities a consolidated basis with details of the instrument type (CGFS, 2012). The BIS also collects unconsolidated positions (i.e. both assets and liabilities) of banks located in a given country on all foreigners in the Locational Banking Statistics (LBS), in which bilateral positions are not publicly disclosed2. For the US, however, bilateral foreign unconsolidated banking assets and liabilities are available from the Treasury International Capital System (TICS)3. Coherent to the balance of payment residency principle, the reporting institutions are branches of foreign banks residing in the US which report their positions vis-à-vis all foreigners by foreign country, including related-offices.
Residency-based statistics is ill-suited to assess bi-lateral linkages of US banks as confounding resident foreign and domestic banks does not allow to disentangle the different lending conducts and funding structures4. Also, the foreign counterparty includes foreign branches and subsidiaries of domestic banks as well as parents, branches and subsidiaries of foreign banks resident in the US, hindering a full understanding of the geography of banks’ funding, liquidity and capital allocation.
The aim of this paper is to review all the available data at the macro level in order to both draw a map of the bilateral international balance sheet positions of US banks by counterparty country and stress the data limitations and gaps. Firstly, this paper presents an extensive survey of all available bilateral macro data on international linkages created by US banks’ balance sheets. This investigation details the components and measurements (consolidated vs. unconsolidated data collection) of external positions of US banks. The survey is mainly based on the statistics provided by the Country Exposure Lending Survey (CELS) published by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), upon which the BIS CBS for the US is based, and the US Banking claims and liabilities statistics published by the Treasury International Capital System (TICS). The second part of the paper discusses how data gaps might distort the measurement of important bilateral linkages and suggests how these limitations might be tackled by future research.
In the literature can be found a few papers that bring together existing available datasets to evaluate bi-lateral financial linkages, such as the works by (Lane & Milesi-Ferretti, 2011), (Milesi- Ferretti, et al., 2010) and (Cerutti, 2013). The latter study, in particular, estimates the linkages created by banks’ balance sheet by combining BIS CBS with foreign office data available commercially at the micro-level with the intent of measuring foreign rollover risks.
In this paper it is stressed that consolidated and unconsolidated banking statistics should both include a vis-à-vis country dimension, other than a sectoral and instrument-type segmentation. Moreover, statistics should be segmented enough to allow mapping unconsolidated to consolidated data. In particular, consolidated banking statistics should differentiate claims booked from domestic offices to those from branches and subsidiaries, possibly by host country. Unconsolidated statistics, should disentangle positions booked from domestic banks and foreign banks and vis-à-vis related- offices, possibly identifying the nationality foreign banks. While the statistics enhancements of the CGFS are definitely going towards this direction, this paper suggests that more detailed information should be collected on the funding structure of foreign-related offices, disentangling, when possible, branches by subsidiaries by host country.
An overview of bi-lateral foreign exposure of US banks
The linkages created by banks via their international balance sheet positions can be assessed on either a consolidated or unconsolidated basis.
The BIS provides the framework to collect international banking claims on a consolidated basis. The Consolidated Banking Statistics (CBS) provides very useful scope for assessing country risk as its concern is to measure the exposure of the banking sector of a given country i on a foreign country j on a nationality basis: banks are grouped according to their nationality so that all branches of banks with nationality i located worldwide report their positions vis-à-vis the residents of a given country j. Total foreign exposure, namely foreign claims, of the banking sector in i on country j is obtained by summing the consolidated cross-border claims on unaffiliated foreigners in j and local claims of foreign offices established in j. The BIS publishes bilateral foreign claims for the reporting county vis-à-vis the rest of the world by country of location of the counterparty on a quarterly basis. For the US case, more detailed data is available from the Country Exposure Lending Survey (CELS) published by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), upon which the BIS CBS for the US is based.
Banks’ foreign exposure evaluated on an unconsolidated (or locational) basis, on the other hand, complies with the balance of payments principles. Banks are grouped according to their residency so that in a given country i the reporting banks are all those institutions operating in i, including the resident branches of foreign banks. Total foreign exposure is here calculated by measuring unconsolidated cross-border claims only, i.e. claims on all those counterparties which are not domestically located, including related offices. The BIS collects quarterly statistics on unconsolidated banking assets and liabilities, that is, the Locational Banking Statistics (LBS), for a large set of reporting countries, reporting positions broken down by currency, counterparty sector and nationality of banks. Although the BIS collects unconsolidated banking statistics by country of location of the counterparty (i.e. vis-à-vis country dimension), this information is not publicly disclosed hindering a geographical mapping of the counterparties of reporting banks. For the case of US, however, this bilateral assets and liabilities of banks on an unconsolidated basis are published by the US Treasury within the Treasury International Capital System (TICS), upon which the BIS LBS for the US is based.
Data Gaps identified during the GFC have been corrected to some extent. New improved data sets became available in 2015. Based on this new data, several new papers have been published by BIS.
From Enhanced data to analyse international banking
Banks have become larger and more complex over the past 25 years, offering multiple services and products through operations spanning the globe. Some rely heavily on wholesale or non-deposit sources of funding, often from non-bank financial intermediaries about whom information is sparse. Such changes in the international financial system were not well captured in historical data (BIS (2011)). This made it hard to analyse where, in which instruments and on which side of banks’ balance sheets vulnerabilities might emerge, and harder still to assess how vulnerabilities in one part of the financial system might affect other parts. In 2012, the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS), which oversees the collection of the BIS international banking statistics (IBS), approved a major set of enhancements to the IBS aimed at filling long-standing data gaps and better capturing the new financial landscape (CGFS (2012)). To a large extent, the enhancements were informed by the Great Financial Crisis of 2007–09, which revealed critical gaps in the information available to monitor and respond to financial stability risks.2 The basic thrust of the enhancements is twofold. First, they expand the coverage of banks’ balance sheets to include their domestic positions, not just their international activities. Second, they provide more information about the sector of banks’ counterparties, in particular banks’ exposures to and reliance on funding from non-bank financial counterparties. The remainder of this feature explains the enhancements in more detail and discusses a few analytical uses of the new data.
Overview of the enhancements
The IBS comprise two data sets – the locational banking statistics (LBS) and the consolidated banking statistics (CBS) – each collected using a different methodology. Jointly, they are a key source of information for assessing risks to financial stability, understanding banks’ role in the transmission of shocks across borders, and monitoring changes in internationally active banks’ business models. The principal use of the LBS is to analyse capital flows between countries. They capture the positions of banking offices located in 44 reporting countries on counterparties resident in each of over 200 countries. The LBS are collected following the same principles as national accounts and balance of payments, meaning that their compilation is based on the residence of entities and the data are not adjusted for intragroup or intrasector links. The CBS provide measures of internationally active banks’ country risk exposures. In contrast to the LBS, the CBS are compiled on a nationality basis, using the consolidated approach followed by banking supervisors. The business of offices that are part of the same banking group is consolidated and reported by the country where the controlling parent entity is located.3 Table 1 summarises the breakdowns reported in each data set, and a companion piece in this Review describes the LBS and CBS in more detail. The enhancements approved by the CGFS focused on five areas. First, in both the LBS and the CBS, the coverage of banks’ balance sheets was extended to domestic positions; previously, the data sets captured only banks’ international business. In the LBS, banks are now asked to report their local positions – positions against residents of the country where they are located – in local currency, to complement the existing data on local positions in foreign currencies.4 In the CBS, since end-2013, internationally active banks have reported their worldwide consolidated claims on residents of their home country – the country where the bank’s controlling parent is headquartered. Second, in the CBS, data for the funding side of banks’ consolidated balance sheets were introduced. Previously, very little liability-related information was collected in the CBS: only the local liabilities of banks’ foreign affiliates, and only those denominated in local currency. Since end-2013, banks have reported their total liabilities on a consolidated basis, with a breakdown by instrument.5 They also report their total equity, selected capital measures, and total assets (comprising financial and non-financial assets).
Third, in both the LBS and the CBS, the sectoral breakdown of counterparties was improved. The main improvement was to distinguish between non-bank financial counterparties and non-financial counterparties; previously, the two sectors were grouped together as non-bank entities.6 Banks are also asked to distinguish between different non-financial counterparties: non-financial corporations, households and governments. However, the reporting of the latter breakdown is encouraged, not required, and thus is incomplete (as discussed below). In the LBS, the breakdown of counterparties classified as banks was also improved. Since end- 2013, banks have reported different types of bank counterparties – related banking offices (or intragroup affiliates), unrelated banks and central banks – by residence of the counterparty.7 Fourth, the LBS were refined to provide more granular information by nationality of the reporting bank. In particular, since end-June 2012, four dimensions of data have been jointly reported: the residence and nationality of the reporting bank, the residence of the counterparty, and the currency in which positions are denominated. Previously, no more than three of the four dimensions were jointly reported in either the CBS or LBS (Table 2). Box 1 explains how these new data help clarify the geography of banks’ operations. The more granular information by nationality of the reporting bank is often composed of data reported by very few banks. For example, there are many banks in the United Kingdom that have claims on South Africa, and there are several Australian banks that have offices in the United Kingdom, but there may be only one or two Australian banks in the United Kingdom that have claims on South Africa. If an aggregate comprises data from only one or two banks, then its disclosure risks revealing proprietary information about those banks’ activities. Consequently, reporting authorities classify a significant part of the enhanced data that they report to the BIS as confidential. Such data cannot be disclosed by the BIS, but they can serve as building blocks in the construction of published aggregates that combine data from many reporting countries. While the enhancements made the residence and nationality of reporting banks and the residence of counterparties available simultaneously in the LBS, they did not make the distinction between data by residence and nationality redundant. In particular, the instrument breakdown – loans and deposits, debt securities and other instruments – continues to be reported only for LBS by residence (Table 2). The enhancements also refined the IBS in a number of smaller ways. Banks reporting the LBS are now encouraged to provide an expanded currency breakdown. To complement the LBS by nationality of reporting bank, data by type of bank – branch or subsidiary – are also reported, although without a detailed counterparty country breakdown of cross-border positions. In addition, the quality of the data was improved through closer alignment of reporting practices with the guidelines. For example, authorities in some reporting countries refined sectoral or other classifications. Such methodological changes have sometimes led to significant changes in reported outstanding positions. Finally, the BIS comprehensively revised the tables presenting the IBS so as to include data collected as part of the enhancements (Box 2). The enhancements also prompted the BIS to revisit the way in which some aggregates are calculated or presented, resulting in changes to previously published data (Box 3).
From Enhanced data to analyse international banking
From Enhanced data to analyse international banking
From Enhanced data to analyse international banking
From Recent enhancements to the BIS statistics
Locational banking statistics by reporting country
One of the enhancements to the international banking statistics (IBS) agreed by the Committee on the Global Financial System following the Great Financial Crisis of 2007–09 was to make the IBS more widely available (CGFS (2012)). The new tables and data published by the BIS in September 2015 were an important step in that direction (Avdjiev et al (2015)). The BIS and central banks continue to work towards publishing more data and improving the tools for accessing them.
Concurrently with this Quarterly Review, the BIS has started publishing more details at the reporting country level from the locational banking statistics (LBS), in particular the claims and liabilities of banks in individual reporting countries on counterparties in more than 200 countries. Previously, the BIS had made public only two types of aggregates in the LBS: the positions of banks in all reporting countries on counterparties in individual countries (Table A6 in the BIS Statistical Bulletin and the BIS Statistics Explorer), and the positions of banks in individual reporting countries on all counterparties abroad (Table A5). The BIS now discloses a matrix of reporting countries and counterparty countries, for the full history of the LBS. For example, whereas previously only the cross-border claims of all LBS-reporting banks on borrowers in China were published, now the location of those reporting banks is also disclosed. This information shows that, at end-March 2016, banks in Hong Kong SAR were the main creditors, accounting for 42% of cross-border claims on China’s mainland borrowers, followed by banks in Chinese Taipei with 9%.
Such geographical details can be used to analyse how shocks might propagate across sectors and borders. For example, they can help track how funds are transferred from sources in one country via banks to users in another. They can also shed light on the complexity of banks’ international operations.
When undertaking such analysis, it is very important to distinguish between the unconsolidated office-level view in the LBS and the consolidated group-level view in the consolidated banking statistics (CBS). The LBS capture the positions of banking offices located in a given country, following the same residency principles as national accounts and balance of payments. By contrast, the CBS capture the worldwide positions of banking groups headquartered in that country, using the consolidated approach followed by banking supervisors. Accordingly, the principal use of the LBS is to analyse capital flows between countries, whereas the CBS provide measures of banks’ country risk exposures.3
The published matrix of reporting countries and counterparty countries covers the cross-border positions of banks located in up to 29 LBS-reporting countries on counterparties in more than 200 countries. As many as eight series are publicly available in the LBS for each reporting-counterparty country pair: total claims and liabilities on counterparties in all sectors and the non-bank sector, and the same details for the instrument component loans and deposits. Selected series are published in Table A6 of the BIS Statistical Bulletin, and all the data can be downloaded from the BIS Statistics Explorer, the BIS Statistics Warehouse or in a single CSV file. A matrix of reporting countries and counterparty countries is also published for the CBS, in Table B4 of the BIS Statistical Bulletin.
Table below shows stock positions in different currencies by location and by sector.
From Currency networks in cross-border bank lending
From Currency networks in cross-border bank lending
At end-2014, the outstanding stock of BIS IBS cross-border bank claims totalled $28.5 trillion. Using the new dimensions in the Stage 1 data, we can simultaneously identify the nationality of the lending bank and the location of the borrower for 92% ($26.2 trillion) of the global total. Nearly three quarters ($19.3 trillion) of the bilaterally-identified claims represented lending by banks from advanced economies (AEs) to borrowers in AEs (Table 2). The second largest component of global crossborder bank lending was the one from AE banks to offshore centres – it stood at $3.5 trillion (or 13% of the global aggregate). “AE-to-EME” lending (ie lending by AE banks to EME borrowers) was also substantial – it amounted to $2.3 trillion (or 9% of global cross-border lending). Meanwhile, cross-border lending by EME banks, which has been growing rapidly over the past few years, stood at $1.1 trillion or around 4% of global cross-border claims. It was fairly evenly distributed among borrowers from AEs ($395 billion), EMEs ($351 billion) and offshore centres ($205 billion).
More than three-quarters of global cross-border claims were accounted for by lending in two major currencies: the US dollar and the euro. Claims denominated in US dollars alone equalled $13.0 trillion, or 45% of the global total. Meanwhile, crossborder lending denominated in euros stood at $9.0 trillion, or 31% of the global aggregate. The third largest currency denomination, the Japanese yen accounts for only around 5% of the global total. At the aggregate level, the above currency shares are remarkably stable across counterparty sectors (Table 3). The US dollar shares of global cross-border lending to banks (46%) and non-banks (45%) are virtually the same. The same is true for the respective euro shares, with both at 31%. In the case of yen, the difference is more pronounced: cross-border lending to non-banks (6.4%) is almost twice as high as interbank lending (3.6%).
The variation in the currency composition of cross-border lending across locations is considerably larger (Table 3). In terms of lending to advanced economies, the US dollar and euro shares are roughly equal at 41% and 39%, respectively. Approximately half of US dollar-denominated bank lending to advanced economies is accounted for by cross-border claims on residents of the United States ($4.1 trillion). Similarly, the majority ($5.7 trillion) of euro-denominated cross-border bank lending is directed towards borrowers in the euro area – and most ($3.8 trillion) of that amount represents intra-euro area cross-border claims. Outside the United States and the euro area, the US dollar and the euro still dominate lending to advanced economies, albeit with somewhat smaller shares (36% and 25%, respectively).
Lending to EMEs tends to be primarily denominated in US dollars as well. The proportion of cross-border claims on EMEs denominated in US dollars (47%) is more than four times higher than that of the euro (11%). Nevertheless, the aggregate EME numbers mask considerable variations across regions. The US dollar accounts for the majority of the claims on Latin America and on Africa and the Middle East (73% and 61%, respectively). Yet, it accounts for less than half (41%) of the lending to emerging Asia and less than a third (30%) of the lending to emerging Europe. In fact, emerging Europe is the only EME region where the euro is the leading currency with around 41% of all claims. The share of yen is negligible at around 1% of lending to all four EME regions.
The dominance of the US dollar is most pronounced in cross-border claims on offshore centres with a share of nearly two thirds (63%) of the total. Conversely, the respective share for the Japanese yen is merely 11%. The share of the euro is even smaller at 8%.
From Drivers of cross-border banking since the Global Crisis
Since the Global Crisis, international credit markets have become more segmented. Figure 1 illustrates the development of cross-border bank claims over the last years; after a continuous and steep increase, the Crisis has led to a retrenchment in cross-border bank lending. Yet, international lending has evolved heterogeneously across regions. While cross-border lending to developing and emerging economies has increased again, foreign bank claims to developed countries have rather continued to decrease.
Even if part of the retrenchment in cross-border bank claims was cyclical, part of the adjustment seems to be structural as the economic recovery did not go along with a notable increase in total foreign bank claims.
What role do policy changes play for adjustments in cross-border bank claims?
The adjustments in international bank lending have led to a debate on how recent policy interventions have affected international capital flows in the aftermath of the crisis.
- On the one hand, different observers stress the role of changes in financial regulation for the international activities of banks.
After the experiences of the recent Crisis, national regulators may aim at a lower degree of banking globalisation to facilitate the resolution of large, internationally active banks, and hence to better protect taxpayers from potential losses (The Economist 2012). Using bank-level data for the UK banking sector, Rose and Wieladek (2011) have analysed the implications of bank nationalisations for international lending. They present evidence that foreign banks that profited from government support have cut back their lending to the UK. Thus, part of the retrenchment in international bank lending may be due to increased financial protectionism since the crisis.
- On the other hand, the effects of monetary policy on capital flows – especially to emerging markets – have been intensely debated.
Among others, Bernanke (2013) has pointed out that in an environment of low interest rates, banks may tend to lean their foreign activities towards higher-yielding markets. Nier and Saadi Sedik (2014) point out that managing the large and volatile capital inflows since the Crisis has been costly for emerging markets.
In a recent study (Bremus and Fratzscher 2014), we add to this debate by investigating the effects of policy-related drivers of changes in cross-border bank lending since the Global Crisis.
- The first question we address is how shifts in banking regulations have affected international bank lending in the wake of the Crisis.
As illustrated by Figure 2, bank capital regulation has, on average, become stricter since the Crisis. In general, tighter regulatory requirements may have different implications for banks’ international lending business. An increase in capital requirements in the source country of cross-border credit may lead to a reduction in credit outflows if banks cut back risky foreign lending activities in order to deleverage. However, stricter regulations in the source country could also lead to an increase in foreign lending activities to countries where regulation is more lenient. Using data from the pre-crisis period, Houston et al. (2012) indeed find that differences in banking regulation are important push and pull factors of cross-border bank lending; banks are attracted by countries with a less restrictive regulatory environment.
In order to study policy-related drivers of changes in international lending between the pre- and the post-Crisis period, we use bilateral credit data for 46 countries from the Bank for International Settlements for the period 2005-2012. Information on capital stringency, supervisory power, and supervisory independence is available from Barth et al. (2013). Following the literature, the years until 2007 can be classified as the ‘pre-crisis’ period, while the years as of 2010 are classified as the ‘post-crisis’ phase. We use a cross-sectional regression model where all variables are expressed as the change between the average across 2005-2007 and the average across 2010-2012.
- Our results indicate that regulatory policy has been an important driver of adjustments in cross-border banking since the Global Crisis.
Source countries of bilateral credit which have seen a larger increase in supervisory power or independence have extended more cross-border credit. Put differently, the more independent or powerful supervisors got, the less severe was the reduction in cross-border credit in the aftermath of the Crisis. Another interpretation for this result is that stricter regulation in the source country has led to more cross-border lending due to regulatory arbitrage.
With respect to bank capital regulation, the estimation results are similar when the whole country sample is considered. Yet, the larger the differential in capital stringency between the source and the recipient country of cross-border credit in the Eurozone got, the lower the increase (or the larger the reduction) in cross-border lending between these countries.
- In a second part, we examine which role expansionary monetary policy – as measured by reserve deposits of commercial banks held at central banks – has played for bilateral cross-border lending.
Aggregate reserves at central banks reflect the size of monetary policy interventions (Keister and McAndrews 2009). The more accommodative monetary policy has been since the Crisis, the larger was the increase in total reserves. The estimation results reveal that a larger expansion in source countries’ reserve deposits have come along with smaller reductions (or, larger increases) in credit outflows. Hence, the findings suggest that monetary policy has mitigated credit market fragmentation in the aftermath of the Global Crisis.
Our results show that regulatory and monetary policy changes have been important drivers of adjustments in cross-border bank lending since the crisis. While expansionary monetary policy measures have mitigated credit market fragmentation, regulatory policy changes have had mixed effects, depending on the measure and region considered.
More independent and powerful supervisory authorities tend to promote international lending. Our findings indicate that capital regulation should be adjusted in a harmonised and transparent way in order to avoid distortionary lending behaviour, especially in the Eurozone.
From The currency dimension of the bank lending channel in international monetary transmission
In this paper, we add to the existing literature on the cross-border bank lending channel of monetary policy by examining how the use of a currency in cross-border lending transmits monetary policy-induced monetary shocks across countries. We do so by using new and unique data on bilateral cross-border lending flows across a wide array of source banking systems and target countries, broken down by currency denomination (USD, EUR and JPY).
We obtain three main results.
First, monetary policy-induced monetary shocks in a currency significantly affect cross-border bank lending flows in that currency, even when neither the lending banking system nor the borrowing country uses that currency as their own. This is what we call the currency dimension of the bank lending channel.
Second, we find that this currency dimension of the bank lending channel works primarily through lending to non-banks.
Third, we find that these currency effects work similarly across the three main currencies, that is, the transmission effects are present in EUR and JPY-lending as much as in USD-lending. All these results are robust across our various specifications, including IV estimations.26
We hope that our results will help policymakers and researchers gain further insight into how the global use of currencies transmits monetary policy shocks through the international banking system. In particular, our results suggest that when policymakers in borrowing countries think about external spillovers to their economies they should explicitly consider the currency denomination of the cross-border claims.
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This Draft: May 13, 2011
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