This study investigates the shock-absorbing properties of a banking union by providing a detailed comparison between the way regional financial shocks have been absorbed at the federal level in the US, but have led to severe regional (national) financial dislocation and tensions in Europe and particularly in the euro area. The institutions of the banking union, which is now emerging in the euro area, should increase its capacity to deal with future regional boom and bust cycles. Cross-border capital flows in the form of equity appear to be much more stable than those taking the form of credit, especially inter-bank credit. It therefore follows that cross-border banks would be useful to deal with regional shocks. But large banks pose the 'too big to fail' problem and they would also propagate regional shocks, especially if they originate in large countries, to the entire area. The extent to which the (incomplete) banking union now put in place for the euro area provides some shock absorption is also discussed.
banking union currency union default shock absorber two-tier reinsurance system