[open-economics] Design questions for the Failed Bank tracker

Velichka Dimitrova velichka.dimitrova at okfn.org
Mon Oct 29 15:57:34 UTC 2012

Hi Anders,

Thanks for these questions! Below I have some thoughts:

On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM, Anders Pedersen <anderspeders at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi all,
> Following the Data Sprint the Faield Bank tracker is at 98 bank failures.
> The list here:
> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkitojFFyvjCdC1lcmRhRU9WWExSdmJ6OFpySExzb3c#gid=2
> This post is devoted to a few of the questions which have risen following
> the sprint. I would be interested to hear if any of you have an opinion on
> any of these issues:
> 1) Should the tracker be limited to failures post 2007?
> The advantage of expanding the year average would be to enable tracking of
> local financial crisis prior to the global financial crisis (such as the
> Bulgarian banking crisis 1998-1999 or the Swedish crisis of 1992).
> Does anyone have an opinion on this?

I think having more data in the spreadsheet doesn't hurt. We can always
exclude the earlier years if we aim to do some visualisation e.g. like a
map with a timeline and emphasise the bank failures after the recent
economic crisis.
For the purpose of the exercise probably we need to concentrate on the more
recent bank failures. If we stumble across previous bank failures, we might
include them in the list, but they shouldn't be a priority.

> 2) Should bank bailouts be included to the failed bank list?
> In a number of countries banks across the board were provided guarantees
> from provincial states (Germany), favorable government loans (Denmark,
> etc.) or emergency access to national banks (FED, ECB, etc.).
> These measures could be recorded in the tracker as well. I am a bit
> reluctant to advocate for this at this moment, due to the magnitude for
> such a project. I am however eager to hear if other would be interested in
> doing this. One way to start could be to go through all the approvals from
> DG Competition to member states for state aid measures to banks.

It depends on the definition adopted to characterise a failed bank. If we
were to refer to FDIC definition, a failed bank is only a bank which is
closed by the regulatory agency:
Again I think it is similar to the time question: we might include bank
bailouts if we have found any through the research but they might not be
part of the final dataset.

What do others think?

> 3) Should government documents supplements supplement the list?
> Another way to expand the documentation of each bank failure, would be to
> add official documents to the tracker. These documents could be accessed by
> requests for documents with the European Commission, as all bank failures
> expectedly involve the approval from DG Competition. Would this be relevant
> or useful to folks?
> 4) What should be the preferred sources?
> From the sprint we learned that Italian bank failures could be added based
> on official documentation from Italy's state Gazette journal. This served
> as a good example of an ideal source. However the data sprint also showed
> such a source is not available in all cases. I therefore think we should
> remain open for using news sources as alternatives, at least until we can
> verify the information via government sources.

It seems the best resources would be those as close to the official sources
as possible - e.g. state journals. In case there is no information for a
specific country from an official source, then media reports should be an

The monthly Open Economics meeting is due next Wednesday (will make the
announcement this week). I suggest we could do the meeting and then
continue working on the failed banks list for an hour after that if people
have time.

> That's all for now. Enjoy your weekend and thanks again to everyone who
> joined Wednesday.
> Best,
> Anders
> _______________________________________________
> open-economics mailing list
> open-economics at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-economics

Velichka Dimitrova
Coordinator of the Open Economics Working Group
Open Knowledge Foundation
http://okfn.org | http://openeconomics.net
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