Middlebury

MiddLab

In nascent markets with relatively immature institutions, do depositors have the capacity to discipline banks with poor fundamentals? If so, what information specifically guides their response? Using a database from post-communist, pre-deposit-insurance Russia, we present evidence for quantity-based sanctioning of weaker banks by both firms and households, particularly after the 1998 financial crisis. More notably, the discipline that we observe is surprisingly sophisticated. Specifically, our evidence is consistent with the proposition that depositors interpret a banks deposit rate and capital as jointly reflecting its subsequent stability. In estimating a deposit supply function, we show that, particularly for poorly capitalized banks, interest rate increases run into diminishing, and eventually negative, returns in terms of deposit attraction.

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William Pyle

Alexei Karas

Koen Schoors

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