Abstract

This paper studies the impact of capital requirements, deposit insurance and tax benefits on a bank's capital structure. We find that properly regulated banks voluntarily choose to maintain capital in excess of the minimum required. Central to this decision is both tax advantaged debt (a source of firm franchise value) and the ability of regulators to place banks in receivership stripping equity holders of firm value. These features of our model help explain both the capital structure of the large mortgage Government Sponsored Enterprises and the recent increase in risk taking through leverage by financial institutions.

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