Bank Concentration and Product Market Competition
Review of Financial Studies,
This paper documents a link between bank concentration and markups in nonfinancial sectors. We exploit concentration-increasing bank mergers and variation in banks’ market shares across industries and show that higher credit concentration is associated with higher markups and that high-market-share lenders charge lower loan rates. We argue that this is due to the greater incidence of competing firms sharing common lenders that induce less aggressive product market behavior among their borrowers, thereby internalizing potential adverse effects of higher rates. Consistent with our conjecture, the effect is stronger in industries with competition in strategic substitutes where negative product market externalities are greatest.
Quotations IWH: No shortenings of complex facts - but putting things in a nutshell....
01.04.2019 • 8/2019
Bank profitability increases after eliminating consolidation barriers
When two banks merge because political consolidation barriers are abolished, the combined entity is considerably more profitable and useful to the real economy. This is the headline result of an analysis of compulsory savings banks mergers carried out by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). The study yields important insights for the German and the European banking market.
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May the Force Be with You: Exit Barriers, Governance Shocks, and Profitability Sclerosis in Banking
Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper,
We test whether limited market discipline imposes exit barriers and poor profitability in banking. We exploit an exogenous shock to the governance of government-owned banks: the unification of counties. County mergers lead to enforced government-owned bank mergers. We compare forced to voluntary bank exits and show that the former cause better bank profitability and efficiency at the expense of riskier financial profiles. Regarding real effects, firms exposed to forced bank mergers borrow more at lower cost, increase investment, and exhibit higher employment. Thus, reduced exit frictions in banking seem to unleash the economic potential of both banks and firms.
Consumer Bankruptcy, Bank Mergers and Information
Review of Finance,
This article analyzes the relationship between consumer bankruptcy patterns and the destruction of soft information caused by mergers. Using a major Canadian bank merger as a source of exogenous variation in local banking conditions, we show that local markets affected by the merger exhibit an increase in consumer bankruptcy rates post-merger. The evidence is consistent with the most plausible mechanism being the disruption of consumer–bank relationships. Markets affected by the merger show a decrease in the merging institutions’ branch presence and market share, including those stemming from higher switching rates. We rule out alternative mechanisms such as changes in quantity of credit, loan rates, or observable borrower characteristics.
Staying, Dropping, or Switching: The Impacts of Bank Mergers on Small Firms
Review of Financial Studies,
Assessing the impacts of bank mergers on small firms requires separating borrowers with single versus multiple banking relationships and distinguishing the three alternatives of “staying,” “dropping,” and “switching” of relationships. Single-relationship borrowers who “switch” to another bank following a merger will be less harmed than those whose relationship is “dropped” and not replaced. Using Belgian data, we find that single-relationship borrowers of target banks are more likely than other borrowers to be dropped. We track postmerger performance and show that many dropped target-bank borrowers are harmed by the merger. Multiple-relationship borrowers are less harmed, as they can better hedge against relationship discontinuations.
A New Metric for Banking Integration in Europe
Europe and the Euro,
Most observers have concluded that while money markets and government bond markets are rapidly integrating following the introduction of the common currency in the euro area, there is little evidence that a similar integration process is taking place for retail banking. Data on cross-border retail bank flows, cross-border bank mergers and the law of one price reveal no evidence of integration in retail banking. This paper shows that the previous tests of bank integration are weak in that they are not based on an equilibrium concept and are neither necessary nor sufficient statistics for bank integration. The paper proposes a new test of integration based on convergence in banks' profitability. The new test emphasises the role of an active market for corporate control and of competition in banking integration. European listed banks profitability appears to converge to a common level. There is weak evidence that competition eliminates high profits for these banks, and underperforming banks tend to show improved profitability. Unlisted European banks differ markedly. Their profits show no tendency to revert to a common target rate of profitability. Overall, the banking market in Europe appears far from being integrated. In contrast, in the U.S. both listed and unlisted commercial banks profits converge to the same target, and high profit banks see their profits driven down quickly.
A Lesson Learned? Pre- and Post-Crisis Entry Decisions in Turkish Banking
Contemporary Economic Policy,
This study looks at the determinants of entry by Turkish banks into local markets during the periods before and after the crisis of 2000–2001. Motivated by a theoretical model of entry, results of fixed-effects logit regressions suggest that there has been a change in the geographical diversification strategies of Turkish banks. It appears that the dominance of strategic concerns, such as competing with banks of similar size, has diminished, while economic concerns, such as incumbent characteristics and cost considerations, have become more important. Overall, the postcrisis restructuring policies seem to have led to improved decision making in the sector.
An Assessment of Bank Merger Success in Germany
German Economic Review,
German banks have experienced a merger wave since the early 1990s. However, the success of bank mergers remains a continuous matter of debate.This paper suggests a taxonomy to evaluate post-merger performance on the basis of cost and profit efficiency (CE and PE). I identify successful mergers as those that fulfill simultaneously two criteria. First, merged institutes must exhibit efficiency levels above the average of non-merging banks. Second, banks must exhibit efficiency changes between merger and evaluation year above efficiency changes of non-merging banks. I assess the post-merger performance up to 11 years after the mergers and relate it to the transfer of skills, the adequacy to merge distressed banks and the role of geographical distance. Roughly every second merger is a success in terms of either CE or PE. The margin of success in terms of CE is narrow, as efficiency differentials between merging and non-merging banks are around 1 and 2 percentage points. PE performance is slightly larger. More importantly, mergers boost in particular the change in PE, thus indicating persistent improvements of merging banks to improve the ability to generate profits.
Do Weak Supervisory Systems Encourage Bank Risk-taking?
Journal of Financial Stability,
Weak bank supervision could give banks the ability to shift risk from themselves to supervisors. We use cross-border bank mergers as a natural experiment to test changes in risk and the impact of supervision. We examine cross-border bank mergers and find that the supervisory structures of the partners’ countries influence changes in post-merger total risk. An acquirer from a country with strong supervision lowers total risk after a cross-border merger. However, total risk increases when the target bank is located in a country with relatively strong supervision. This result is consistent with strong host regulators limiting the risky activities of their local banks. Foreign-owned competitors could then engage in the risky projects, especially if the foreign banks’ supervisors are not strong. An acquirer entering a country with strong supervision appears to shift risk back to its home country. The results suggest that bank supervisors can reduce total banking risk in their countries by being strong.