Bank of Lithuania

Personal bankruptcy, bank portfolio choice and the macroeconomy


This paper explores the spillover effects from increasing personal bankruptcy protection. Innovatively, the paper shows that the spillover effects can be influenced by the bank portfolio choice. Since a low level of personal bankruptcy protection keeps an insolvent individual liable until her debt is repaid in full, lender’s returns on mortgages are less uncertain than returns on other assets ceteris paribus. Risk-averse banks would prefer mortgages over other types of assets such as corporate loans. Corporate lending and thus equilibrium output would fall. In contrary to the popular view that creditor protection smooths credit provision and makes the allocation of resources more efficient, I show that in some cases a low level of personal bankruptcy protection can lead to aggregate consumption losses. Also I show that macroprudential policies (LTV ratios) can successfully complement higher personal bankruptcy protection in ensuring even higher welfare.

JEL Codes: E44, G11, G21, K35, R21.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

Personal bankruptcy, household debt, housing, general equilibrium, bank portfolio choice