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Does diversification improve the performance of German banks? Evidence from individual bank loan portfolios

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  • von Westernhagen, Natalja
  • Porath, Daniel
  • Hayden, Evelyn

Abstract

Should banks be diversified or focused? Does diversification indeed lead to enhanced performance and, therefore, greater safety for banks, as traditional portfolio and banking theory would suggest? This paper investigates the link between banks? profitability (ROA) and their portfolio diversification across different industries, broader economic sectors and geographical regions measured by the Herfindahl Index. To explore this issue, we use a unique data set of the individual bank loan portfolios of 983 German banks for the period from 1996 to 2002. The overall evidence we provide shows that there are no large performance benefits associated with diversification since each type of diversification tends to reduce the banks? returns. Moreover, we find that the impact of diversification depends strongly on the risk level. However, it is only for moderate risk levels and in the case of industrial diversification that diversification significantly improves the banks? returns. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies with number 2006,05.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp2:4536

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Keywords: focus; diversification; monitoring; bank returns; bank risk;

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  1. Campbell, John Y. & Hilscher, Jens & Szilagyi, Jan, 2005. "In search of distress risk," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,27, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  2. Slacalek, Jirka & Fritsche, Ulrich & Dovern, Jonas & Döpke, Jörg, 2005. "European inflation expectations dynamics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,37, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  3. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2005. "A "wreckers theory" of financial distress," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,40, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  4. Fecht, Falko & Huang, Kevin & Martin, Antoine, 2005. "Financial intermediaries, markets and growth," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,03, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  5. Koetter, Michael & Bos, Jaap W. B. & Heid, Frank & Kool, Clemens J. M. & Kolari, James W. & Porath, Daniel, 2005. "Accounting for distress in bank mergers," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2005,09, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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Cited by:
  1. Busch, Ramona & Kick, Thomas, 2009. "Income diversification in the German banking industry," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2009,09, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  2. Dairo Estrada & Angela González Arbelaéz & Javier Gutiérrez Rueda, . "The Effects of Diversification on Banks’ Expected Returns," Borradores de Economia 524, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  3. García-Herrero, Alicia & Vázquez, Francisco, 2013. "International diversification gains and home bias in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2560-2571.
  4. Dickler, Robert A. & Schalast, Christoph, 2006. "Distressed debt in Germany: What's next? Possible innovative exit strategies," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 73, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
  5. Jahn, Nadya & Memmel, Christoph & Pfingsten, Andreas, 2013. "Banks' concentration versus diversification in the loan portfolio: New evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 53/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.

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