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Does board structure in banks really affect their performance?

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  • Pathan, Shams
  • Faff, Robert

Abstract

We study whether board structure (board size, independence and gender diversity) in banks relates to performance. Using a broad panel of large US bank holding companies over the period 1997–2011, we find that both board size and independent directors decrease bank performance. Although gender diversity improves bank performance in the pre-Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) period (1997–2002), the positive effect of gender diminishes in both the post-SOX (2003–2006) and the crisis periods (2007–2011). Finally, we show that board structure is particularly relevant for banks with low market power, if they are immune to the threat of external takeover and/or they are small. Our two-step system generalised method of moments estimation accounts for endogeneity concerns (simultaneity, reverse causality and unobserved heterogeneity). The findings are robust to a wide range of other sensitivity checks including alternative proxies for bank performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Pathan, Shams & Faff, Robert, 2013. "Does board structure in banks really affect their performance?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1573-1589.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:37:y:2013:i:5:p:1573-1589 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2012.12.016
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    Keywords

    Board structure; Board independence; Gender diversity; Bank holding companies; Endogeneity; System GMM; Sarbanes-Oxley Act;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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