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Efficiency and cost differences across countries in a unified European banking market

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  • J.A. Bikker

Abstract

The efficiency of European banks is crucial in the light of the current and expected increase in competition. This paper seeks to discover the level and spread of bank efficiency in Europe. In particular, it focuses on differences across countries, various sizes of banks (reflecting several market segments), various banking categories and over time. It considers two related but diverging dimensions of efficien cy. X-efficiency measures managerial ability, whereas cost level differences reflect national economic and institutional conditions with respect to supervisory rules, government interference, customer preferences and level of development. Cost levels of banks in Luxembourg appear to be 20% below the European average and cost levels in Spain and Greece are, respectively, 25% and 35% higher. The X-inefficiency results are similar, be it that the spread is somewhat less. Large banks are twice as inefficient as small banks; apparently, shortcomings in managerial ability are manifested earlier in large financial institutions. Inefficiencies in 1997 are nearly 45% lower than in 1990; evidently, over time, deregulation, liberalisation and ongoing financial and monetary integration in the EU have increased competitive pressures and enforced European banks to operate more economically. The analysis provides evidence that X-efficiency estimates from single-country studies, as often found in the literature, can be very misleading. The large spread in inefficiencies and cost levels indicates that the process of scaling up and rationalisation to be prepared for increased foreign competition, is for at least part of the banks only still in its early stage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision in its series Research Series Supervision (discontinued) with number 34.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:ressup:34

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  1. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  2. J.A. Bikker, 2003. "Efficiency and Cost Differences across Countries in a Unified EuropeanBanking Market," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 87, Netherlands Central Bank.
  3. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-32.
  4. Maudos, Joaquin & Pastor, Jose M. & Perez, Francisco & Quesada, Javier, 2002. "Cost and profit efficiency in European banks," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 33-58, February.
  5. Allen N. Berger & Robert DeYoung, 1995. "Problem Loans and Cost Efficiency in Commercial Banks," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. J.A. Bikker & J.M. Groeneveld, 1998. "Competition and Concentration in the EU Banking Industry," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 8, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
  7. Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Inside the black box: what explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Allen, Linda & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "Operational efficiency in banking: An international comparison," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 655-672, May.
  9. Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Measuring efficiency at U.S. banks: Accounting for heterogeneity is important," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 230-242, April.
  10. Joaquin Maudos & Jose Pastor & Lorenzo Seranno, 1999. "Economic integration, efficiency and economic growth: the European Union experience," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(6), pages 389-392.
  11. Pastor, JoseManuel & Perez, Francisco & Quesada, Javier, 1997. "Efficiency analysis in banking firms: An international comparison," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 395-407, April.
  12. J.A. Bikker & K. Haaf, 2000. "Competition, concentration and their relationship: an empirical analysis of the banking industry," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 30, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
  13. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: International survey and directions for future research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 175-212, April.
  14. J.A. Bikker, 1999. "Efficiency in the European banking industry: an exploratory analysis to rank countries," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 18, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
  15. Joaquin Maudos & Jose Pastor, 2001. "Cost and profit efficiency in banking: an international comparison of Europe, Japan and the USA," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(6), pages 383-387.
  16. Ana Lozano-Vivas, 1998. "Efficiency and technical change for Spanish banks," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 289-300.
  17. Battese, George E. & Corra, Greg S., 1977. "Estimation Of A Production Frontier Model: With Application To The Pastoral Zone Of Eastern Australia," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 21(03), December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jacob A. Bikker & Jaap W.B. Bos, 2005. "Trends in Competition and Profitability in the Banking Industry: A Basic Framework," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 2005/2 edited by Morten Balling.
  2. Mamatzakis, E & Koutsomanoli, A, 2009. "European Banking Integration under a Quadratic Loss Function," MPRA Paper 19379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. J.A. Bikker, 2003. "Efficiency and Cost Differences across Countries in a Unified EuropeanBanking Market," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 87, Netherlands Central Bank.
  4. Bos, Jaap W. B. & Schmiedel, Heiko, 2006. "Is there a single frontier in a single European banking market?," Working Paper Series 0701, European Central Bank.
  5. Jacob Bikker & Janko Gorter, 2008. "Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus," DNB Working Papers 164, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  6. Dániel Holló & Márton Nagy, 2006. "Bank Efficiency in the Enlarged European Union," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), The banking system in emerging economies: how much progress has been made?, volume 28, pages 217-35 Bank for International Settlements.
  7. Mark Schonewille, 2004. "Qualitative Efficiency Assessment of Markets: An Institutional Approach to Training," HEW 0405006, EconWPA.
  8. Bank for International Settlements, 2006. "The banking system in emerging economies: how much progress has been made?," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 28, 3.
  9. Bos, J.W.B. & Kool, C.J.M., 2006. "Bank efficiency: The role of bank strategy and local market conditions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1953-1974, July.
  10. Mamatzakis, E & Koutsomanoli, A, 2009. "Risk in the EU banking industry and efficiency under quantile analysis," MPRA Paper 22492, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Christian E. Weller & Ghazal Zulfiqar, 2013. "Financial Market Diversity and Macroeconomic Stability," Working Papers wp332, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  12. Trevor Fitzpatrick & Kieran McQuinn, 2005. "Labour Cost Efficiency in UK and Irish Credit Institutions," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 36(1), pages 45–66.
  13. Fitzpatrick, Trevor & McQuinn, Kieran, 2004. "Cost Efficiency in UK and Irish Credit Institutions," Research Technical Papers 3/RT/04, Central Bank of Ireland.

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