Norges Bank

Staff Memo

What do banks lose money on during crises?

Kasper Kragh-Sørensen and Haakon Solheim
Staff Memo

We look at a wide range of national and international crises to identify banks' exposures to losses during banking crises. We find that banks generally sustain greater losses on corporate loans than on household loans. Even after sharp falls in house prices, losses on household loans were often moderate. The most prominent exception is the losses incurred in US banks during the 2008 financial crisis. In most of the crises we study, the main cause of bank losses appears to have been property-related corporate lending, particularly commercial property loans. In a box, we also summarise characteristics of developments in the banking industry ahead of banking crises.

Staff Memos present reports and documentation written by staff members and affiliates of Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway. Views and conclusions expressed in Staff Memos should not be taken to represent the views of Norges Bank.

ISSN 1504-2596 (online)

Published 26 March 2014 17:45
Published 26 March 2014 17:45