Abnormal Loan Growth and Bank Profitability: Some Evidence from the Recent Crisis

  •  Simone Rossi    
  •  Mariarosa Borroni    
  •  Mariacristina Piva    
  •  Andrea Lippi    


During healthy economic/financial times, credit growth often happens without proper provisioning. This is due to a managerial myopia that underestimates the risks underlying an expansive lending policy, leading to lower profitability in following years. However, given the countercyclicality of credit standards, this effect shouldn’t occur during harsh times. In this paper, we analyse the relationship between abnormal credit growth and bank profitability during a crisis period. In particular, we test the hypothesis that during a crisis, abnormal credit growth improves bank profitability, given the need for higher, or at least stable, credit standards. We find support for this assumption using a sample of 101 large European banks observed during the recent crisis period. Results are robust to different robustness checks.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.