One Monetary Policy and Two Bank Lending Standards: A Tale of Two Europes

Author name: 
Choi S
Jeong K
Kim J

This paper underscores the underappreciated role of bank mortgage lending standards in conjunction with imbalances stemming from the common monetary policy framework as drivers of divergent economic trajectories in the euro area’s core and periphery countries. To illustrate the mechanism, we compute a country-specific monetary policy stance gap and estimate the panel VAR model of credit and macroeconomy for each group. While the widening gap—the accommodative stance of the ECB relative to individual economic conditions—induces a similar increase in the demand for mortgage credit in both regions, it is followed by markedly different responses of the supply side of mortgage credit: bank mortgage lending standards are relaxed (tightened) in periphery (core) countries, which can rationalize vastly different responses in mortgage credit, residential investment, and housing prices between the two Europes. In searching for the source of different bank lending behaviors, we find that banks in core countries, subject to tighter macroprudential policies and reduced profit margins, increase cross-border lending to periphery countries, enabling them to relax lending standards toward mortgage loans.

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