This paper analyzes the effect of the business cycle on the regulatory capital buffer of German savings and cooperative banks in the period 1993-2003. The capital buffer is found to fluctuate anticyclically over the business cycle. The fluctuation is stronger for savings banks than for cooperative banks, as, for savings banks, risk-weighted assets fluctuate more strongly with the business cycle. Further, low-capitalized banks do not catch up with their wellcapitalized peers. The gap between low-capitalized and well capitalized banks even widened over the observation period. Finally, low-capitalized banks do not decrease risk-weighted assets in a business cycle downturn by more than well-capitalized banks. This finding seems to imply that their low capitalization does not force them to retreat from lending.
Capital Regulation Bank Capital Business Cycle Fluctuations