The purpose of this paper is to shed further light on international financial linkages created by banks. Typically, the larger the balance sheet exposure a bank has to a counterparty country, the more will be both its risk exposure and sensibility to shocks to this latter. The latest crisis has revealed the importance of filling the existing data gaps which hinder a full understanding of the geographical composition of banks’ balance sheet on a global basis.
This paper, by focusing on US banks, reviews existing data on bilateral foreign positions on both a consolidated and an unconsolidated basis.
The investigation stresses the extent to which new data enhancements are going to enable to a better understanding of the global banking system and discusses other data limitations and gaps which should be addressed. In particular, policy recommendations point to the need to collect more detailed foreign offices-related statistics.
This is the first attempt in the literature to discuss data availability, limitations and policy suggestions regarding international bilateral banking statistics in the USA.
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