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Does Corporate Culture Affect Bank Risk-Taking? Evidence from Loan-Level Data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Duc Duy Nguyen, Linh Nguyen, Vathunyoo Sila

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-133
Number of pages28
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2019
Accepted/In press13 Feb 2018
E-pub ahead of print30 Jan 2019
PublishedJan 2019

King's Authors


Using comprehensive corporate and retail loan data, we show that the corporate culture of banks explains their risk-taking behaviour. Banks whose corporate culture leans towards aggressive competition are associated with riskier lending practices: higher approval rate, lower borrower quality, and fewer covenant requirements. Consequently, these banks incur larger loan losses and make greater contributions to systemic risk. The opposite behaviour is observed among banks whose culture emphasises control and safety. Our findings cannot be explained by heterogeneity in a bank’s business model, CEO compensation incentives, and CEO characteristics. We use an exogenous shock to the US banking system during the 1998 Russian default crisis to support a causal inference.

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