We analyse how bank asset quality interacts within the relationship between leverage and sys- tematic risk. We elaborate three leverage adjustments for sterilizing the effect of provisioning and incorporating the effect of non-performing loans and total credit risk exposure. We test the model on a sample of 97 European banks from 2005 and 2016. Controlling for size, findings show the relevance of a combined effect of leverage and asset quality as a systematic risk component. NPLs are found to be one significant variable of market risk. Results demonstrate that simple leverage is pointless for verifying the financial riskiness of banks.
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