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Big Fish in Small Banking Ponds? Cost Advantages and Foreign Affiliate Presences

We distinguish cost advantage at home from cost advantage vis-à-vis incumbent banks in destination markets to explain the probability of foreign bank affiliate lending. We combine detailed affiliate lending data of all German banks with public bank micro data from 59 destination markets. The likelihood to operate foreign affiliates depends positively on both types of cost advantage. Only cost advantage at home is economically significant. Generally, risk, return, and unobservable bank traits explain a larger share of the variation in foreign affiliate operations. Less profitable, more risky, and larger banks are more likely to operate affiliates abroad.

15. March 2018

Authors Michael Koetter Rients Galema

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