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The Effects of Bank Regulations, Competition and Financial Reforms on MENA Banks’ Profitability

Listed author(s):
  • Samy Ben Naceur

    ()

    (Laboratoire d’Economie et Finance Appliquées (LEFA), and Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (IHEC), University 7 November at Carthage,Tunisia.)

  • Mohammed Omran

    ()

    (Arab Academy for Science and Technology, College of Management and Technology, Miami, Alexandria, Egypt/ Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges, Cairo)

In this paper, we examine the influence of bank regulations, concentration, financial and institutional development on commercial bank margin and profitability across a broad menu of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. We cover the 1989-2005 period and control for a wide array of macroeconomic,, financial and bank characteristics. The empirical results find that bank specific characteristics, in particular bank capitalization and credit risk, have positive and significant impact on banks’ net interest margin, cost efficiency and profitability. As for the impact of macroeconomic and financial development indicators on bank performance, we conclude that these variables have no significant impact on net interest margin, except for inflation. However, inflation shocks seem to be passed mainly through the deposit rates — which means that banks bear the entire negative cost of inflation. Also, the results suggest that banks lower their operating costs in a well-developed banking sector environment (as confirmed by the negative and statically significant coefficient of the bank development variable in the cost efficient regression models). Furthermore, the stock market development variable is always positive and significant in all specifications, suggesting that banks that operate in a well-developed stock market environment tend to have greater profit opportunities. The regulatory and institutional variables seem to have an impact on bank performance as the results suggest that corruption increases the cost efficiency and net interest margins while an improvement in the law and order variable decreases the cost of efficiency without affecting performance. The analysis has a clear set of policy implications for the MENA countries. It is evident that enhancing competition through easing entry of foreign banks should be accommodated since it could reduce interest margins by intensifying competition. Additionally, the development of capital markets is encouraged to improve banks’ transparency and provide for better screening and monitoring of bank activities. Governments should also improve governance at the macro level — with implementing initiatives for fighting corruption and enforcing law and order as they have a positive impact on banks performance. Last, states are encouraged to speed up bank privatization activities that allow for changing ownership and control from the state to the private sector, so increasing competition, transparency and performance of banks.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Forum in its series Working Papers with number 449.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 09 Jan 2008
Date of revision: 09 Jan 2008
Publication status: Published by The Economic Research Forum (ERF)
Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:449
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  1. Adolfo Barajas & Roberto Steiner & Natalia Salazar, 1999. "Interest Spreads in Banking in Colombia, 1974-96," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1-4.
  2. Berger, Allen N, 1995. "The Relationship between Capital and Earnings in Banking," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 432-456, May.
  3. Berger, Allen N, 1995. "The Profit-Structure Relationship in Banking--Tests of Market-Power and Efficient-Structure Hypotheses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 404-431, May.
  4. Molyneux, Philip & Thornton, John, 1992. "Determinants of European bank profitability: A note," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 1173-1178, December.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  6. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
  7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
  8. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  9. Angbazo, Lazarus, 1997. "Commercial bank net interest margins, default risk, interest-rate risk, and off-balance sheet banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 55-87, January.
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