Measuring commercial bank profitability: proceed with caution
The federal tax code creates challenges for comparing the profit rates of different banks on a consistent basis. The earnings of banks that elect to operate under subchapter S of the federal tax code are not subject to federal corporate income tax, but shareholders of these "S-banks" are taxed on their pro rata share of the entire earnings of the bank. The number of banks electing subchapter S tax treatment has increased rapidly, especially among small banks. The authors use estimates of the federal corporate income tax that S-banks would pay if they were subject to the tax to show that the difference in the tax treatment of S-banks and other banks has a large impact on measures of U.S. banking system profitability. Further, the article shows that adjustment of S-bank earnings by estimates of federal income taxes to make them comparable with the earnings of other banks can markedly affect conclusions of studies that use net income as a measure of performance. Finally, the article shows that S-banks (even after their earnings are reduced by estimated federal taxes) tend to out-earn their peers; S-banks also tend to have higher earnings rates than their peers in the year before they elect S-bank status.
Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
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- Scott E. Hein & Timothy W. Koch & S. Scott MacDonald, 2005. "On the uniqueness of community banks," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 15-36.
- Robert DeYoung & William Hunter & Gregory Udell, 2004.
"The Past, Present, and Probable Future for Community Banks,"
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Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 85-133, April.
- Robert DeYoung & William C. Hunter & Gregory F. Udell, 2003. "The past, present, and probable future for community banks," Working Paper Series WP-03-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- James Harvey & Jane Padget, 2000. "Subchapter S : a new tool for enhancing the value of community banks," Financial Industry Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Dec, pages 17-32.
- William Keeton, 2003. "The role of community banks in the U.S. economy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 15-43.
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