A Tale of Two Regions

Foreign-bank lending to emerging markets during the global crisis differed from continent to continent. Lending by foreign banks is an important part of international capital flows to emerging markets and a defining feature of financial globalization. In the years preceding the recent global crisis, foreign-bank lending to emerging economies expanded rapidly—whether directly from foreign-bank headquarters (cross border) or through affiliates operating in host countries. In many countries, especially in Latin America and emerging Europe, lending by foreign banks became a significant source of funding for households and corporations. Although it had its pros and cons, on balance the presence of foreign-owned banks was generally believed to have enhanced competition and aided overall financial stability.