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The 2007-2009 financial crisis has had a worldwide impact on banks and financial systems. It has also brought about major changes in Europe's financial regulatory framework which could lead to financing problems for SMEs. The book explores the restructuring process of banking and financial systems to its impact on the financing of SMEs.





Banking has traditionally been one of the most heavily regulated industries in all countries: the existence of specific market imperfections (such as negative externalities in case of bank failures, asymmetric information) have always called for government interventions. Until the late 1980s, banking was strongly regulated in most countries to restrict competition (viewed as the major source of banking instability) through entrance barriers, opening of new branches, restricting bank activities, separating commercial and investing banking activities, etc. As a result, most banks were run both inefficiently and ineffectively. At the end of 1980, there was a general consensus to shift toward a new prudential-style of regulation, based on the establishment of objective rules (based on risk-weighted capital requirements) aiming to achieve both banking stability and efficiency. As such, structural regulation tools were removed by mid 1990s in most countries and the re-regulation started. However, in some countries (e.g. the US), the re-regulation was not timely implemented (or implemented at all).

Franco Fiordelisi, Filippo L. Calciano, Giovanni Scarano

I – Restructuring Banks and Financial Systems in the Euro Area

Regulating Core and Non-Core Banking Activities. The Unanswered Question◊

The debate on structural reforms of the banking system, particularly devoted to break-up commercial and investments banks, finds out whether a full or partial banking split could reach the goal to make banks more safe and sound and to reduce the cost of bail-out. We compare different proposals pointing out their theoretical assumptions and expected results. Since the regulatory reaction to the crisis was a reinforcement of the prudential model along with structural solutions, we conclude that such a mixed model could fail the purpose to resolve the trade-off between safety and efficiency.

Giampaolo Gabbi, Andrea Sironi

The Banking Regulatory Bubble and How to Get out of It

We claim that we currently live in a banking regulatory bubble. We review how: i) banking intermediation theory hinges on dealing with borrower-lender asymmetry of information; ii) instead, the presence of complete information is the keystone of finance theory. Next, we document how finance theory prevailed over banking intermediation theory in shaping banking regulation: This appalling contradiction is the true culprit behind lower credit standards, mounting systemic risk in banking, and macroeconomic debt overhang. Consequently, we discuss actions that, by restoring the consistency of banking regulation with the theory of banking intermediation, would make banking sounder.

Giovanni Ferri, Doris Neuberger

Fifteen Years of Single Monetary Policy in the Euro Area: A Bird’s Eye View, Effects on Italian Banks During the Crisis, and Lessons to Draw

In the first fifteen years of its life the ECB has delivered price stability through an accommodative monetary policy stance. It has played a crucial role during the sovereign crisis. At the start of 2012, the severe liquidity stress, fixed through the L TROs, has signalled that Italian banks have to address their funding gap problem. To do it without hurting credit flows, a resumption of domestic savings is needed. Thus, the real lesson for Italian banks (and for Italy) is that the ultimate way out of the crisis lies in a quantum leap in the capability of generating higher profits (and income).

Vincenzo Chiorazzo, Pierluigi Morelli

Learning on the Road towards the Banking Union

The European Banking Union entered the EU’s agenda in the summer of 2012. The design of the project has been proceeding quickly. This paper is a summary of the issues which have been better understood while walking towards the union. It discusses the implications for central bank independence and governance as well as for non-euro area countries. Besides fighting the euro area fragmentation, the union appears to be an indispensable complement of the single currency for the single market, also triggering the best practices in regulation, supervision and crisis management and favoring the structural banking policies and reforms that Europe needs.

Franco Bruni

The Economic Impact of EU Competitiveness Programs on Italian SMEs

This paper focuses on how structural funds from the EU might alleviate the credit crunch on Italian SMEs. We found that resources directly available to SMEs represent only 0.19% of 2013 loan facilities: moreover, the allotted resources for SMEs in 2014–2020 programs is expected to be even less. Not only are available resources scarce, but they are also allocated in an inefficient way through procedures that are not always transparent. We conclude that it would be very useful to improve efficiency and transparency, by adopting simpler procedures and reducing compliance costs.

Stefano Marzioni, Luciano Monti, Alessandro Pandimiglio, Marco Spallone

Regulatory Impacts from the Financial Crisis on German Banks

The changes in Europe’s financial regulatory framework implemented since the 2007–2009 financial crisis have had a major impact on many aspects of the banking industry. The implementation from the regulatory guidelines is facing the banking sector with cost increasing challenges. I observe approximately 35 regulatory guidelines that will be in force from 2012 until 2019.Commercial banks and private banks are the worst prepared for regulation implementation. These banks have high costs that have been increasing since 2009, when regulation started. I show that the cooperative banks and the savings banks are better prepared for the implementation of the multiplicity legislations.

Michaela Hönig

Corporate Savings and the 2007–2009 Financial Crisis: A Warning for the European Banking Union

The final step of the European banking union process should be the single deposit guarantee mechanism (SDM) able to allow for bail-in of the banks while the saving system is rescued. If the effectiveness of bank deposit insurance depends on the nature of the financial crisis and the corporate savings glut does in fact play an important role in such crises, then it could be worth looking into the structural, cyclical or transitory nature of the latter. This paper constitutes a preliminary reconnaissance of the phenomenon, seeking to understand its relevance in defining the nature of a financial crisis.

Giovanni Scarano

New Tools for the Financing of SMEs


The European Central Bank and the Financing Conditions of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Europe

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in innovation, economic growth and job creation. Generally, SMEs face special problems when trying to access funding. Their situation is further complicated by the European economic crisis and a fragmentation of financial markets in the euro area. Funding conditions differ between the countries of the euro area. Claims have emerged that the ECB should more explicitly address the financing problems of SMEs. In this contribution we provide an overview of the current situation of SMEs and evaluate whether it should be the central bank that helps to overcome their funding difficulties.

Ansgar Belke, Florian Verheyen

After the Credit Crunch: Long-Term Finance for Economic Growth

We stress the role of a more balanced financial structure for the Italian corporate sector. Three sources of funding are seen as complementary: equity, long-term debt, and bank loans. An analysis of the credit crunch shows the emergence of two phases: the first from the Lehman crash (2008) to 2010; the second from the sovereign debt crisis (2011) to today. The supply of bank credit will not recover quickly, since bank behaviour is pro-cyclical and prudential regulation will not help. Italian firms should become less dependent on banks. Specialised intermediaries should channel funds from institutional investors to the corporate sector.

Angelo S. Baglioni, Andrea Monticini, Giacomo Vaciago

New Finance for Italian Firms. Issues of Mini-Bonds and SME Entering the Stock Exchange are the Most Promising Novelties

The difficulties of bank lending to Italian firms create an urgent need for new finance from alternative channels. This is essential to catch the recovery in 2014. More resources should come from private equity and mezzanine finance. Good news arrive from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) accessing the stock-exchange. A promising novelty are the Mini-Bonds which try to open the corporate bond market to SME. We need to revive the securitization of loans. District and local bonds are little exploited. Positive development was recently seen in network finance. Confidi and Fondo Centrale di Garanzia should be strengthened to support access to credit.

Ciro Rapacciuolo


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