Boards, CEOs and bank behavior: regulatory and performance perspectives
Nguyen, Duc Duy
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This thesis consists of three essays on the performance implications of senior decision-makers in the banking industry. While the first chapter looks at one aspect of bank performance from a regulatory perspective, the next two chapters study performance from an investor perspective. The first chapter uses regulatory enforcement actions issued against US banks to show that both board monitoring and advising are effective in preventing misconduct by banks. While better monitoring by boards prevents all categories of misconduct, better advising prevents misconduct of a technical nature. Board monitoring increases the likelihood that misconduct is detected, increases the penalties imposed on the CEO, and alleviates shareholder wealth losses following the detection of misconduct by regulators. This chapter offers novel insights on how to structure bank boards to prevent bank misconduct. The second chapter seeks to understand how the characteristics of bank executives affect the market performance of US banks. To explore the expected performance effects linked to executive characteristics, the changes in the market valuation of banks linked to announcements of executive appointments are estimated. The chapter shows that age, education and the prior work experience of executives create shareholder wealth while gender is not linked to measureable value effects. Furthermore, these wealth effects are moderated by the level of influence of incoming executives, with their magnitude diminished under independent boards and higher if the incoming executive is also appointed as CEO. The results are robust to the treatment of selection bias. This chapter contributes to the current debate on whether and how individual executives matter for firm performance. The findings also shed light on the value of human capital in the banking industry. The third chapter explores how the cultural heritage of senior decision-makers affects bank outcomes. To study cultural heritage, this chapter focuses on US-born CEOs who are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. Using a hand-collected dataset that tracks the family tree of US bank CEOs, it is shown that the cultural characteristics prevailing in the country of a CEO’s ancestors influence firm performance under pressure. How CEOs respond to competitive pressure is driven by specific cultural dimensions and is causally related to corporate policy choices. To establish causality, I use variation in industry competition generated by a quasi-natural experiment, the staggered adoption of barriers to US interstate branching in the 1990s. I also use an out-of-sample test using a non-banking competitive shock, the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, and find robust results.