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Basel III capital buffers and Canadian credit unions lending: Impact of the credit cycle and the business cycle

Helyoth Hessou and Van Son Lai

International Review of Financial Analysis, 2018, vol. 57, issue C, 23-39

Abstract: We take advantage of the long-standing regulation of the risk-based capital and the leverage ratio in Canada to provide empirical evidence on the relation between the credit unions' capital buffers and loans to members. Based on a unique sample of the 100 Canadian largest credit unions from 1996 to 2014, we find that both the risk-based capital buffer and the leverage buffer are positively related to changes in loans and loan growth. However, changes in these two types of buffers are negatively related to changes in the loans to assets ratios. This finding suggests that to adjust their capital buffers, Canadian credit unions curtail their loans and underscores the importance of the Basel III conservation and the countercyclical buffer requirements in fostering credit. Further, we show that the risk-based capital buffer is positively related to the credit cycle. However, a mechanical application of the rule based on the credit-to-gross domestic product (GDP) gap to activate the countercyclical buffer, would have misguided Canadian credit unions.

Keywords: Capital regulation; Credit union capital; Loans to members; Business cycle fluctuations; Countercyclical capital buffer; Conservation capital buffer; Basel III (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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