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Competition, efficiency and interest rate margins in Latin American banking

Author

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  • Chortareas, Georgios E.
  • Garza-García, Jesús G.
  • Girardone, Claudia

Abstract

High interest rate spreads and low credit availability to the private sector have been persistent problems in Latin American banking in spite of the recent financial sector reforms. This paper considers the determinants of interest rate margins focusing on their relationship with structural and non-structural measures of competition and non-parametric estimates of efficiency. In the empirical analysis we revisit the traditional Structure–Conduct–Performance paradigm and we estimate panel regressions using a Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) framework, for a sample of over 1700 bank observations covering the period 1999–2006. The results show that the concentration index and the market share have little or no influence on interest rate margins. In contrast, we produce evidence suggesting that greater efficiency and competitive markets result in lower spreads. Moreover, while a higher proportion of loans over assets seem to be associated with high spreads, economic growth appears to reduce them.

Suggested Citation

  • Chortareas, Georgios E. & Garza-García, Jesús G. & Girardone, Claudia, 2012. "Competition, efficiency and interest rate margins in Latin American banking," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 93-103.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:24:y:2012:i:c:p:93-103
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irfa.2012.08.006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Net interest margins; Banking competition; Efficiency; Data envelopment analysis; Latin America;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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