Banks’ Earnings: an empirical evidence of the influence of economic and financial markets factors
Since the 1990s’, a relatively ample research has been undertaken regarding the measurement of the volatility of bank earnings over time. The comparison between traditional deposits-loans banking and financial activities is a further specific theme in bank performance research. Few analyses have however directly addressed the explanation of the volatility of earnings. The present paper provides with an analysis of the influence of economic and financial factors through the sub-components of net earnings. Using a panel of European banks over 2005-2010, a period of marked changes in banks’ earnings, we identify significant influences and shed a light on the sensitivity of activity types. We find that net earnings are positively influenced by GDP growth, stock markets and, for most banks, negatively by interest rates. The influence of GDP is primarily located with loan impairments but also with commissions. Stock markets support both commissions and, in a greater extent, trading. We identify a negative effect of interest rates for both net interest income and trading. Earnings associated with financial activities appear slightly more sensitive, but the resilience of more traditional banking activities is also affected by economic and financial factors. Our results also head towards more exposure of banks running significant additional equities-related commission activities and equity trading. On the other hand, exposure to changes in interest rates may mitigate the sensitivity of earnings.
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