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Hidden cost reductions in bank mergers: accounting for more productive banks

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  • Simon H. Kwan
  • James A. Wilcox

Abstract

Over the past decade, the banking industry has undergone rapid consolidation; indeed, on average, for the past three years there were more than two bank mergers every business day. Before the 1990s, most bank mergers involved banks with less than $1 billion in assets; more recently, even the very largest banks have merged with other banks and with nonbank financial firms. ; Globalization, technological advances, and regulatory retreat are often cited as factors that have stimulated and allowed more banks to merge. Mergers may reduce costs if they enable banks to close redundant branches or consolidate back-office functions. Mergers may make banks more productive if they increase the range of products that banks can profitably offer. Mergers may also diversify further bank portfolios and thereby reduce the probability of insolvency. Increased diversification then may reduce banks’ total costs by reducing desired capital-asset ratios. Increased diversification and size may also raise revenues if they increase banks’ attractiveness to customers who will deal only with very safe institutions. Though banks’ loan rates or noninterest revenues might rise or their deposit rates or capital requirements might fall as a result of mergers, we do not focus on those aspects of mergers here. Rather, we focus on the effects of merging on banks’ noninterest expenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon H. Kwan & James A. Wilcox, 1999. "Hidden cost reductions in bank mergers: accounting for more productive banks," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 99-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfap:99-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rhoades, Stephen A., 1998. "The efficiency effects of bank mergers: An overview of case studies of nine mergers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 273-291, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Krainer, 2000. "The separation of banking and commerce," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 15-24.
    2. Gayle DeLong & Robert DeYoung, 2004. "Learning by observing: information spillovers in the execution and valuation of commercial bank M&As," Working Paper Series WP-04-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Athanasoglou, Panayiotis & Brissimis, Sophocles, 2004. "The effect of M&A on bank efficiency in Greece," MPRA Paper 16449, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Houston, Joel F. & James, Christopher M. & Ryngaert, Michael D., 2001. "Where do merger gains come from? Bank mergers from the perspective of insiders and outsiders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 285-331, May.

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    Keywords

    Bank mergers ; Accounting;

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