Capital Structure of Banks in EU: Does Size Matter? : A Quantitative Study of the Determinants of Banks’ Capital Structure

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: The way the banks carry out their operations is determined by the size of the bank and by the banking regulation. In order to perform these operations, banks need to decide whether the operations are going to be financed with equity, debt or a with a mix of both. The mix of equity and debt financing is known as capital structure, and the previous literature on banks’ capital structures suggests that the size of the bank may affect the relation between leverage and the factors of leverage: profitability, size, growth, risk, collateral, and the bank’s dividend payments. This study examines whether the relation between leverage and the factors of leverage is depended on the size of the bank. In addition to this, the banking regulation has changed since the last studied on banks’ capital structures have been conducted, which means that the relation between the new regulatory requirements and capital structure needs to be investigated. The primary purpose of this study is to examine whether leverage and the factors of leverage are dependent on the size of the listed banks headquartered in one of the member countries of European Union between the years 2009 and 2017. In order to study this, data of the banks is gathered from the Eikon database. Another purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of the relationship between the capital structure in banks and the regulatory requirements.   The theories on capital structure such as the, MM propositions, trade-off theory, and pecking-order theory are used to explain the variables of this study and the relation between the capital structure and regulatory capital. Previous literature of the banks’ capital structures and of the relation between size and the banks’ operations were studied in order to come up with the research questions. This study takes a deductive research approach and utilizes the quantitative research strategy. The data is analyzed by conducting regressions analysis for panel data in order to determine the relations studied.   Conclusions about whether the bank size determines the relation between leverage and its factors, and of the nature of the relation between capital structure and regulatory capital will be drawn. This study finds that the bank size determines the relation between leverage and the factors of leverage. Further, the relation between capital structure and regulatory capital is found to be strong. Under the new regulation, the capital structure theories do not apply at all for the small banks. These theories do not apply either when the banks, small or large, are close to meeting their regulatory capital requirements.  For larger banks meeting their capital requirements, the larger the banks get, the more of their leverage can be explained by the classic capital structure theories. 

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