Skip to main content

Risk-Based Capital and Deposit Insurance Reform


Risk-based capital (RBC) is an important component of deposit insurance reform. This paper provides an empirical analysis of the new 1992 RBC bank standards, applying them to data on virtually all U.S. banks from 1982 to 1989. The data reveal strong associations between several measures of future bank performance (including bankruptcy) and the RBC relative risk weights. These associations suggest that the weights constitute a significant improvement over the old capital standards, although there are several instances in which the weights for specific categories appear to be out of line with the performance results. Tests of the informational value of passing or failing the new and old capital standards show that both have independent information, but that the new RBC standards better predict future bank performance problems. The data also indicate that, in contrast to the old standards, the RBC capital burden falls much more heavily on large banks. As a result, banks representing more than one-fourth of all bank assets would have failed the new RBC standards as of 1989. The new standards are also more stringent overall. More banks would have failed the new standards than the old ones, with larger average capital deficiencies.


Suggested citation: Avery, Robert, and Allen Berger, 1991. “Risk-Based Capital and Deposit Insurance Reform,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 91-01.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 06.23.21

    Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities

    Offering the latest research on and best practices for promoting the economic mobility and resilience of low- and moderate-income individuals, families, and communities.

  • 07.12.21

    Summer Research Coding Camp

    Summer Research Coding Camp is a virtual week-long immersive program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Students will participate in experiential hands-on activities exposing them to real world skills such as data analysis and interpretation while exploring how economists utilize these skills in their careers.

  • 10.07.21

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics Conference 2021

    The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Center for Inflation Research will host the Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics Conference 2021, which will be held virtually on October 7–8.

  • 11.17.21

    2021 Financial Stability Conference: Planning for Surprises, Learning from Crises

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their annual financial stability conference, Financial Stability: Planning for Surprises, Learning from Crises, which will be held virtually on November 17-19, 2021.