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Working paper

Depositor Discipline in Russian Regions: Flight to Familiarity or Trust in Local Authorities?

Financial Economics. WP BRP. National Research University Higher School of Economics, 2016. No. 58/FE/2016.
Schoors K., Semenova M., Zubanov A.
We analyse whether depositor familiarity with a bank affects depositor behaviour during a financial crisis. We measure familiarity by looking for regional or local cues in the bank’s name. We measure depositor behaviour by the their sensitivity to observable bank risk (market discipline). Using 2001–2010 bank-level and region-level data for Russia, we find that depositors of familiar banks become less sensitive to bank risk after a financial crisis relative to depositors of unfamiliar banks. To check that the results are not driven by any implicit support of banks with regional cues in their names by regional governments, but indeed by familiarity bias, we interact the variables of interest with measures of trust in local governments and regional affinity. We find that the flight to familiarity effect is strongly present in regions with strong regional affinity, while the effect is rejected in regions with more trust in regional and local governments. This indicates our results are driven by familiarity and not by any implicit protection from a trusted regional or local government.