COVID-19, nonperforming loans, and cross-border bank lending

Cyn Young Park, Kwanho Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A severe economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with high debt levels globally, raises the specter of mounting nonperforming loans (NPLs) in global banking systems. This paper investigates the impact of higher NPL ratios on the availability of bank credit among international lenders and emerging market borrowers. The paper finds that a rise in NPL ratios in both lender and borrower countries is positively associated with higher banking outflows from emerging market economies. Two additional features emerge in the patterns of cross-border banking flows when NPL ratios rise that are related to international credit market imperfections. First, lenders are more responsive to a rise in NPL ratios of same-region borrowers. This is consistent with the “reversion to the mean’’ effect given their generally high exposures to the same-region borrowers. Second, while a high share of US-dollar-denominated debt is generally positively associated with withdrawals of funds from emerging market borrowers, lenders are less responsive to a rise in NPL ratios in emerging market economies if their liabilities are denominated more in US dollars. The results are in line with the “original sin redux” hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106233
JournalJournal of Banking and Finance
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Banking flows
  • Emerging market economies
  • Nonperforming loans
  • Regional lenders
  • US dollar denomination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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