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Diversification, size, and risk at bank holding companies

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  • Rebecca S. Demsetz
  • Philip E. Strahan
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    Abstract

    This paper shows that large BHCs are better diversified than small BHCs based on market measures of diversification. We find, however, that better diversification does not translate into reductions in overall risk. The risk reducing potential of diversification at large BHCs is offset by their lower capital ratios, larger C&I loan portfolios, and greater use of derivatives. Our results suggest that asset growth should enhance diversification but that the effects on risk will depend on the extent to which growth is accompanied by changes in portfolio attributes. Using data from 1980 to 1993, we find that BHC asset growth has, in fact, been accompanied by economically important reductions in risk.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Research Paper with number 9506.

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    Date of creation: 1995
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9506

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    Related research

    Keywords: Bank holding companies ; Bank size ; Bank loans;

    References

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    1. John H. Boyd & Mark Gertler, 1994. "Are banks dead? Or are the reports greatly exaggerated?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-23.
    2. Edward J. Kane & Haluk Unal, 1988. "Change in Market Assessments of Deposit-Institution Riskiness," NBER Working Papers 2530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Yakov Amihud & Baruch Lev, 1981. "Risk Reduction as a Managerial Motive for Conglomerate Mergers," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 605-617, Autumn.
    4. Heston, Steven L. & Rouwenhorst, K. Geert, 1994. "Does industrial structure explain the benefits of international diversification?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 3-27, August.
    5. Katherine A. Samolyk, 1994. "U.S. banking sector trends: assessing disparities in industry performance," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 2-17.
    6. Mark E. Levonian, 1994. "Interstate banking and risk," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jul22.
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    Cited by:
    1. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2013. "The change in banks' product mix, diversification and performance: An application of multivariate GARCH to Canadian data," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp012013, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.
    2. Robert DeYoung & Karin P. Roland, 1999. "Product mix and earnings volatility at commercial banks: evidence from a degree of leverage model," Working Paper Series WP-99-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Safety in numbers? Geographic diversification and bank insolvency risk," Working Papers 96-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Rosie Smith & Christos Staikouras & Geoffrey Wood, 2003. "Non-interest income and total income stability," Bank of England working papers 198, Bank of England.
    5. Andrew Maredza and Sylvanus Ikhide, 2013. "The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Efficiency and Productivity of the Banking System in South Africa," Working Papers 328, Economic Research Southern Africa.

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