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Determinants of Commercial Bank Interest Margins and Profitability: Some International Evidence

  • Demirguc, Asli
  • Huizinga, Harry

Using bank-level data for 80 countries in the years 1988-95, this article shows that differences in interest margins and bank profitability reflect a variety of determinants: bank characteristics, macroeconomic conditions, explicit and implicit bank taxation, deposit insurance regulation, overall financial structure, and underlying legal and institutional indicators. A larger ratio of bank assets to gross domestic product and a lower market concentration ratio lead to lower margins and profits, controlling for differences in bank activity, leverage, and the macroeconomic environment. Foreign banks have higher margins and profits than domestic banks in developing countries, while the opposite holds in industrial countries. Also, there is evidence that the corporate tax burden is fully passed onto bank customers, while higher reserve requirements are not, especially in developing countries. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 379-408

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:13:y:1999:i:2:p:379-408
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  1. Huizinga, H.P., 1994. "The incidence of interest withholding taxes : Evidence from the LDC loan markets," Discussion Paper 1994-95, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Huizinga, H.P. & Lemmen, J.J.G., 1996. "Short-Term and Long-Term Government Debt and Nonresident Interest Withholding Taxes," Discussion Paper 1996-88, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Gorton, Gary & Rosen, Richard, 1995. " Corporate Control, Portfolio Choice, and the Decline of Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1377-1420, December.
  4. Berger, Allen N, 1995. "The Relationship between Capital and Earnings in Banking," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 432-56, May.
  5. Kolari, James & Mahajan, Arvind & Saunders, Edward M., 1988. "The effect of changes in reserve requirements on bank stock prices," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 183-198, June.
  6. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73030 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Demirguc-Kunt, Ash & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 1996. "Stock Market Development and Financing Choices of Firms," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 341-69, May.
  8. Goldberg, Lawrence G. & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "The structure-performance relationship for European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 745-771, May.
  9. repec:dgr:kubcen:199688 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Talley, Samuel H. & Mas, Ignacio, 1990. "Deposit insurance in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 548, The World Bank.
  11. Boyd, John & Smith, Bruce, 1996. "The Coevolution of the Real and Financial Sectors in the Growth Process," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 371-96, May.
  12. Fabozzi, Frank J. & Thurston, Thom B., 1986. "State Taxes and Reserve Requirements as Major Determinants of Yield Spreads among Money Market Instruments," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(04), pages 427-436, December.
  13. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Enrica Detragiache, 1997. "The Determinants of Banking Crises; Evidence From Developing and Developed Countries," IMF Working Papers 97/106, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Huizinga, H., 1994. "The Incidence of Interest Withholding Taxes: Evidence from the LCD Loan Market," Papers 9495, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  15. Gilbert, R Alton & Rasche, Robert H, 1980. "Federal Reserve Bank Membership: Effects on Bank Profits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 448-61, August.
  16. Claessens, Stijn & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 1998. "How does foreign entry affect the domestic banking market?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1918, The World Bank.
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