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The Optimal Capital Structure of Banks: Balancing Deposit Insurance, Capital Requirements and Tax-Advantaged Debt

Опубликовано на портале: 26-10-2007
Department of Economics University of Connecticut: Working papers. 2007.  No. 2007-29.
The capital structure and regulation of financial intermediaries is an important topic for practitioners, regulators and academic researchers. In general, theory predicts that firms choose their capital structures by balancing the benefits of debt (e.g., tax and agency benefits) against its costs (e.g., bankruptcy costs). This paper studies the impact and interaction of deposit insurance, capital requirements and tax benefits on a bank's choice of optimal capital structure. Using a contingent claims model to value the firm and its associated claims, we find that there exists an interior optimal capital ratio in the presence of deposit insurance, taxes and a minimum fixed capital standard as long as there is a significant financial burden associated with violating capital requirements. Banks voluntarily choose to maintain capital in excess of the minimum required in order to balance the risks of insolvency (especially to future tax benefits) against the benefits of additional debt. Because our model includes all three contingent claims, our results differ from those of previous studies of the capital structure of banks that have generally found corner solutions (all equity or all debt) to the capital structure problem.

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