Small firms and domestic bank dependence in Europe’s great recession

Vol: 
76/2019
Author name: 
Hoffmann M
Maslov E
Sorensen BE
Year: 
2019
Month: 
October
Abstract: 

Small businesses (SMEs) depend on banks for credit. We show that the severity of the Eurozone crisis was worse in countries where firms borrowed more from domestic banks (“domestic bank dependence”) than in countries where firms borrowed more from international banks. Eurozone banking integration in the years 2000–2008 mainly involved cross-border lending between banks while foreign banks’ lending to the real sector stayed flat. Hence, SMEs remained dependent on domestic banks and were vulnerable to global banking shocks. We confirm, using a calibrated quantitative model, that domestic bank dependence makes sectors and countries with many SMEs vulnerable to global banking shocks.

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