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Banks in Colombia: how homogeneous are they?

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Abstract

In complex systems, homogeneity (i.e. lack of diversity) has been documented as a source of fragility. Likewise, financial sector’s homogeneity has been documented as a contributing factor for systemic risk. We assess homogeneity in the Colombian case by measuring how similar banks are regarding the structure of their overall financial statements, and their lending, investment, and funding portfolios. Distances among banks and an agglomerative clustering method yield the hierarchical structure of the banking system, which exhibits how banks are related to each other based on their financial structure. The Colombian banking sector displays homogeneous features, especially among the largest banks. Results enable to study to what extent the banking sector is homogeneous, and to identify banking firms that have a (n) (un) common financial structure. Yet, as we neither examine Colombian banking system complexity nor banks’ soundness nor higher dimensions of diversity, conclusive inferences about systemic risk and financial stability are pending.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos León, 2017. "Banks in Colombia: how homogeneous are they?," Borradores de Economia 1022, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:1022
    DOI: 10.32468/be.1022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Clustering; banks; diversity; systemic risk; machine learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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