Large or small? How to measure bank size
Policymakers, clients and bankers themselves wish to know what constitutes a large bank. What is the right indicator to look at if a supervisor is interested in systemic importance and risks to financial stability? What is the right indicator to look at if a company needs a bank that can provide large-scale financing and take on substantial hedging risks? Various measures are currently in use, each with strengths and shortcomings. Regulators and academics mostly look at total assets, an accounting figure. Others reach conclusions from Tier 1 capital or market cap, two regulation- and market-based indicators. This study discusses these and other measures in detail. It draws quantitative comparisons, including across countries and different financial systems, and proposes one indicator that is best suited to measure bank size.

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