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Bank Managers' Heterogeneous Decisions on Discretionary Loan Loss Provisions

Abstract

This study examines bank managers' three major motivations for discretionary behavior with respect to loan loss provisions: signaling, income smoothing, and capital management. To do so, it utilizes a bank-specific time-series regression approach that captures heterogeneity in the banks' priorities and strategies for alternative motives and compares the results to those from alternative model specifications. The statistical tests and results presented in this study lead to three conclusions. First, significant results for the income smoothing hypothesis are robust to the various model specifications. Second, average signaling coefficients estimated from bank-specific regressions are systematically larger than corresponding coefficients from pooled time-series cross-sectional regressions and are statistically significant. Finally, bank managers appear to use loan loss provisions to manage their regulatory capital levels by comparing them with the minimum ratios specified by regulators rather than with a time-series bank-specific ratio or pooled time-series cross-sectional mean ratio.

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Lobo, G.J., Yang, DH. Bank Managers' Heterogeneous Decisions on Discretionary Loan Loss Provisions. Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting 16, 223–250 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011284303517

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  • capital management
  • loan loss provision
  • income smoothing
  • signaling