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How bank business models drive interest margins: Evidence from U.S. bank-level data

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  • Saskia van Ewijk
  • Ivo Arnold

Abstract

The two decades prior to the credit crisis witnessed a strategic shift from a traditional, relationships-oriented model (ROM) to a transactions-oriented model (TOM) of financial intermediation in developed countries. A concurrent trend has been a persistent decline in average bank interest margins. In the literature, these phenomena are often explained using a causality that runs from increased competition in traditional segments to lower margins to new activities. Using a comprehensive dataset with bank-level data on over 16,000 FDIC-insured U.S. commercial banks for a period ranging from 1992 to 2010, this paper qualifies this chain of causality. We find that a bank's business model, measured using a multi-dimensional proxy of relationship banking activity, exerts a robust, positive effect on interest margins. Relationship banks still enjoy considerable interest margins. Our results provide evidence that banks' quest for growth, not the level of competition in traditional retail segments, has transformed banks' balance sheets and has reduced interest rate margins as a by-product.

Suggested Citation

  • Saskia van Ewijk & Ivo Arnold, 2013. "How bank business models drive interest margins: Evidence from U.S. bank-level data," DNB Working Papers 387, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:387
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Birchwood, Anthony & Brei, Michael & Noel, Dorian M., 2017. "Interest margins and bank regulation in Central America and the Caribbean," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 56-68.
    2. Canan Yildirim & Adnan Kasman, 2015. "Bank Market Power and Non-Interest Income in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 930, Economic Research Forum, revised Jul 2015.
    3. Neil Ericsson & Erica Reisman, 2012. "Evaluating a Global Vector Autoregression for Forecasting," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 18(3), pages 247-258, August.
    4. Westman, Hanna, 2014. "Crisis performance of European banks – does management ownership matter?," Research Discussion Papers 28/2014, Bank of Finland.
    5. Giovanni Ferri & Angelo Leogrande, 2015. "Was the Crisis Due to a Shift from Stakeholder to Shareholder Finance? Surveying the Debate," Euricse Working Papers 1576, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    6. Leonardo Gambacorta & Adrian van Rixtel, 2013. "Structural bank regulation initiatives: approaches and implications," BANCARIA, Bancaria Editrice, pages 14-27.
    7. Berger, Allen N. & Goulding, William & Rice, Tara, 2014. "Do small businesses still prefer community banks?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 264-278.
    8. Giuliana Birindelli & Paola Ferretti & Marco Savioli, 2016. "Basel 3: Does One Size Really Fit All Banks' Business Models?," Working Paper series 16-20, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    9. Giovanni Ferri & Angelo Leogrande, 2015. "Was the Crisis Due to a Shift from Stakeholder to Shareholder Finance? Surveying the Debate," Euricse Working Papers 1576, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    10. repec:eee:spacre:v:20:y:2017:i:1:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    interest margins; relationship banking; transaction banking; bank risk-taking;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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