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Safety in numbers? Geographic diversification and bank insolvency risk

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Author Info

  • Joseph P. Hughes
  • William W. Lang
  • Loretta J. Mester
  • Choon-Geol Moon

Abstract

The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act, passed in September 1994 and effective June 1, 1997, will allow nationally chartered banks to branch across state lines. This act will remove impediments to interstate expansion and permit the consolidation of existing interstate networks ; What will be the impact of this legislation on bank performance and bank safety? Removing impediments to geographic expansion should improve the risk-return tradeoff faced by most banks. However, this paper argues that economic theory does not tell us whether an improvement in the risk-return tradeoff will lead to a reduction in the volatility of bank returns or in the probability of insolvency. ; The authors investigate the role of geographic diversification on bank performance and safety using bank holding company data. The authors find that an increase in the number of branches lowers insolvency risk and increases efficiency for inefficient bank holding companies; an increase in the number of states in which a bank holding company operates increases insolvency risk but has an insignificant effect on efficiency. Branch expansion raises the risk of insolvency for efficient bank holding companies, while an increase in the number of states has an insignfiicant effect on insolvency risk

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 96-14.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:96-14

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Keywords: Bank failures ; Interstate banking;

References

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  1. Blair, Roger D & Heggestad, Arnold A, 1978. "Bank Portfolio Regulation and the Probability of Bank Failure: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 10(1), pages 88-93, February.
  2. Joseph P. Hughes & Choon-Geol Moon, 1997. "Efficient Banking Under Interstate Branching," Departmental Working Papers 199609, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Chong, Beng Soon, 1991. "The Effects of Interstate Banking on Commercial Banks' Risk and Profitability," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 78-84, February.
  4. Joseph P. Hughes & William Lang, 1997. "Recovering Technologies That Account for Generalized Managerial Preferences: An Application to Non-Risks-Neutral Banks," Departmental Working Papers 199521, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Loretta J. Mester, 1994. "How efficient are Third District banks?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jan, pages 3-18.
  6. Allen N. Berger & Robert DeYoung, 1997. "Problem loans and cost efficiency in commercial banks," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-8, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Jalal D. Akhavein & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "The effects of megamergers on efficiency and prices: evidence from a bank profit function," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-9, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 1998. "Bank Capitalization And Cost: Evidence Of Scale Economies In Risk Management And Signaling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 314-325, May.
  9. Peter S. Rose, 1995. "Diversification and interstate banking," Proceedings 461, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Rebecca S. Demsetz & Philip E. Strahan, 1995. "Diversification, size, and risk at bank holding companies," Research Paper 9506, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
  12. Hancock, Diana, 1985. "The Financial Firm: Production with Monetary and Nonmonetary Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 859-80, October.
  13. Koehn, Michael & Santomero, Anthony M, 1980. " Regulation of Bank Capital and Portfolio Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(5), pages 1235-44, December.
  14. McAllister, Patrick H. & McManus, Douglas, 1993. "Resolving the scale efficiency puzzle in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 389-405, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Akhigbe, Aigbe & Stevenson, Bradley A., 2010. "Profit efficiency in U.S. BHCs: Effects of increasing non-traditional revenue sources," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 132-140, May.
  2. Allen N. Berger & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Inside the Black Box: What Explains Differences in the Efficiencies of Financial Institutions?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-04, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Enzo Dia, 2002. "A Reconciliation of the Evidence about Bank Lending with Portfolio Theory," Working Papers 56, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2002.
  4. Enzo Dia, 2004. "The bank’s risk insurance and the EMU," Working Papers 72, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised May 2004.
  5. 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.
  6. Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "On the profitability and cost of relationship lending," Working Papers 97-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. Acharya, Viral V & Hasan, Iftekhar & Saunders, Anthony, 2002. "The Effects of Focus and Diversification on Bank Risk and Return: Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 3252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. John S. Jordan, 1998. "Problem loans at New England banks, 1989 to 1992: evidence of aggressive loan policies," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 23-38.
  9. Evelyn Hayden & Daniel Porath & Natalja von Westernhagen, 2006. "Does Diversification Improve the Performance of German Banks? Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," Working Papers 110, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).

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