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An inquiry into the determinants of the profitability of Italian banks

Listed author(s):
  • Ugo Albertazzi

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Alessandro Notarpietro

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Stefano Siviero

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

This paper examines the history and the determinants of bank profits in Italy from 2005-15. We first identify a number of key stylized facts by comparing the income statement of Italian lenders with that of banks in other European countries. The comparison suggests that the profitability gap of Italian banks is partly related to a business model characterized by a more conservative positioning along the risk-return frontier. We then use the Bank of Italy’s Quarterly Model of the Italian Economy to provide quantitative estimates of the impact of four factors (the economic activity growth rate, taxation of bank income, dynamics of operating costs and dividend policy) on profits, regulatory capital and bad debt. Our counterfactual simulations suggest that the weak growth of the Italian economy is responsible for a sizeable share of the profitability gap of Italian banks, being by far the main driver of the increase in bad debts in the last decade; nonetheless, the impact of the other factors on their profitability (and capitalization) is far from negligible.

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File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2016-0364/QEF_364_16.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) with number 364.

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Date of creation: Oct 2016
Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_364_16
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  1. Gabriel Jimenez & Steven Ongena & Jose-Luis Peydro & Jesus Saurina, 2012. "Credit Supply and Monetary Policy: Identifying the Bank Balance-Sheet Channel with Loan Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2301-2326, August.
  2. Albertazzi, Ugo & Ropele, Tiziano & Sene, Gabriele & Signoretti, Federico Maria, 2014. "The impact of the sovereign debt crisis on the activity of Italian banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 387-402.
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  4. Gabriel Fagan & Julian Morgan, 2005. "An overview of the structural econometric models of euro-area central banks," Chapters,in: Econometric Models of the Euro-area Central Banks, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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  7. Albertazzi, Ugo & Gambacorta, Leonardo, 2010. "Bank profitability and taxation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 2801-2810, November.
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  9. Piergiorgio Alessandri & Benjamin D. Nelson, 2015. "Simple Banking: Profitability and the Yield Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(1), pages 143-175, February.
  10. Stiroh, Kevin J, 2004. "Diversification in Banking: Is Noninterest Income the Answer?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(5), pages 853-882, October.
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  12. Michele Caivano & Lisa Rodano & Stefano Siviero, 2010. "The transmission of the global financial crisis to the Italian economy. A counterfactual analysis, 2008-2010," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 64, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  13. Bank for International Settlements, 2011. "The impact of sovereign credit risk on bank funding conditions," CGFS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 43.
  14. Alessandro Notarpietro & Lisa Rodano, 2016. "The evolution of bad debts in Italy during the global financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis: a counterfactual analysis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 350, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. Marcello Bofondi & Luisa Carpinelli & Enrico Sette, 2013. "Credit supply during a sovereign debt crisis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 909, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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