Consolidation and commercial bank net interest margins: Evidence from the old and new European Union members and candidate countries
This paper examines the effects of financial reforms on the determinants of commercial bank net interest margin in the banking systems of the new EU member countries and candidate countries by dividing the sample period (1995-2006) into two sub-periods: consolidation period (1995-2000) and post-consolidation period (2001-2006). The paper also compares the new and old EU members to check whether differences with respect to the determinants of net interest margins between these two groups of countries exist within the same time period. The results indicate that size and managerial efficiency are negatively and significantly related to net interest margins in the two sub-periods. Regulators should promote merger and acquisition and market entry in order to increase the scale and efficiency of banks operating in the sector. Exploitation of the scale economies seems to be important in decreasing the interest rate spread in the sampled banking sectors. The results further indicate that all macroeconomic variables are statistically insignificant in the second sub-period, suggesting that differences in macroeconomic fundamentals have decreased among the sampled countries due to the increased convergence process in recent years. As for the comparison of the new and old EU members, the results suggest that the financial and economic convergence between the new and old members has not been completed. Macroeconomic differences within the group and between the groups still exist.
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