Hidden Loan Losses, Moral Hazard and Financial Crises
This paper introduces two methods of hiding loan losses and analyzes how they affect a bank’s loan interest income, payments on deposits, liquidity and moral hazard. The analysis reveals that a hiding method represents a Ponzi scheme. Contrary to classic theory, e.g. Diamond (1984), moral hazard may arise even though a bank’s loan portfolio is diversified. Alternative instruments to eliminate hiding are investigated. Under specific circumstances, a Ponzi scheme may provide a socially optimal method to create liquidity and prevent a failure of a solvent but illiquid bank.