Discussion paper

DP11061 Bail-in Expectations for European Banks: Actions Speak Louder than Words

The declared intention of policy makers is that future bank restructuring should be conducted through bail-in rather than bail-out. Over the past years there have been a few cases of European banks being restructured where creditors were bailed in. This paper exploits these cases to investigate the market reactions of stock prices and credit default swap (CDS) spreads of European banks in order to gauge the extent to which it is expected that bail-in will indeed become the new regime. We find evidence of increased CDS spreads and falling stock prices most notably after the bail-in in Cyprus. However, bail-in expectations appear to depend on the sovereign?s fiscal strength, i.e., reactions are stronger for banks in countries with limited fiscal space for bail-out. Moreover, actual bail-ins lead to stronger market reactions than the legal implementation of bank resolution regimes, supporting the saying that actions speak louder than words.


Schnabel, I, B Weder di Mauro and A Schäfer (2016), ‘DP11061 Bail-in Expectations for European Banks: Actions Speak Louder than Words‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11061. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11061