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The efficiency of bank branches

  • Allen N. Berger
  • John H. Leusner
  • John Mingo

Most of the early studies of bank efficiency focused on scale and product mix efficiency, or how close banks are to producing at the scale or product mix that minimizes costs per unit of output. Despite these past efforts, something rather important is missing from most of the analysis according to the authors - evaluation of bank branch efficiency. There has been very little empirical research on bank branch efficiency because branching data generally are confidential and not required by regulators. This paper tries to add to the limited information available about bank branch efficiency. It specifies the Fourier-Flexible nonparametric form for the cost function to characterize the efficient frontier for bank branches, the first application of the form in a frontier efficiency context. This form is applied to over 760 branches of a large U.S. commercial bank for three years of 1989, 1990, and 1991. The authors specify and compare models that employ two different concepts of bank costs and output - the intermediation approach and the production approach. The data set includes information on several types of transactions, allowing for more accurate efficiency estimation. The authors also have information on interbranch transactions, which allows them to account for the services that one branch provides for the customers of another branch. The study is a first of its kind from many perspectives in its methodological approaches, its conceptual approaches that compare and contrast the "intermediation" and "production" approaches to defining branch output, linking the relationship between branch efficiencies and bank efficiencies, the problems associated with bank mergers, and the effects of branch efficiency on price or branch offices to be sold. The empirical results are mutually consistent between the intermediation and production approaches and robust to other variations in specifications. The data suggest that most branches are considerably sm

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 94-26.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:94-26
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  1. Allen N. Berger & Anil K. Kashyap & Joseph M. Scalise, 1995. "The Transformation of the U.S. Banking Industry: What a Long, Strange Trips It's Been," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 55-218.
  2. Bauer, Paul W. & Hancock, Diana, 1993. "The efficiency of the Federal Reserve in providing check processing services," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 287-311, April.
  3. George J. Benston, 1965. "Branch Banking And Economies Of Scale," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 312-331, 05.
  4. Schaffnit, Claire & Rosen, Dan & Paradi, Joseph C., 1997. "Best practice analysis of bank branches: An application of DEA in a large Canadian bank," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 269-289, April.
  5. Tulkens, H. & Malnero, A., . "Nonparametric approaches to the assessment of the relative efficiency of bank branches," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1187, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Zardkoohi, Asghar & Kolari, James, 1994. "Branch office economies of scale and scope: evidence from savings banks in Finland," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 421-432, May.
  7. Knox Lovell, C. A. & Pastor, Jesus T., 1997. "Target setting: An application to a bank branch network," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 290-299, April.
  8. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1981. "On the bias in flexible functional forms and an essentially unbiased form : The fourier flexible form," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 211-245, February.
  9. Giokas, DI, 1991. "Bank branch operating efficiency: A comparative application of DEA and the loglinear model," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 549-557.
  10. Berger, Allen N. & Leusner, John H. & Mingo, John J., 1997. "The efficiency of bank branches," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 141-162, September.
  11. McAllister, Patrick H. & McManus, Douglas, 1993. "Resolving the scale efficiency puzzle in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 389-405, April.
  12. Elbadawi, Ibrahim & Gallant, A Ronald & Souza, Geraldo, 1983. "An Elasticity Can Be Estimated Consistently without A Priori Knowledge of Functional Form," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1731-51, November.
  13. Drake, L & Howcroft, B, 1994. "Relative efficiency in the branch network of a UK bank: An empirical study," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 83-90, January.
  14. Sherman, H. David & Gold, Franklin, 1985. "Bank branch operating efficiency : Evaluation with Data Envelopment Analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 297-315, June.
  15. Oral, Muhittin & Yolalan, Reha, 1990. "An empirical study on measuring operating efficiency and profitability of bank branches," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 282-294, June.
  16. Berger, Allen N. & Hanweck, Gerald A. & Humphrey, David B., 1987. "Competitive viability in banking : Scale, scope, and product mix economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 501-520, December.
  17. Mitchell, Karlyn & Onvural, Nur M, 1996. "Economies of Scale and Scope at Large Commercial Banks: Evidence from the Fourier Flexible Functional Form," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 178-99, May.
  18. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  19. Berger, Allen N. & Hancock, Diana & Humphrey, David B., 1993. "Bank efficiency derived from the profit function," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 317-347, April.
  20. Parkan, Celik, 1987. "Measuring the efficiency of service operations: An application to bank branches," Engineering Costs and Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-4), pages 237-242, July.
  21. Alden L. Toevs, 1992. "Under what circumstances do bank mergers improve efficiency?," Proceedings 378, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  22. Athanassopoulos, Antreas D., 1997. "Service quality and operating efficiency synergies for management control in the provision of financial services: Evidence from Greek bank branches," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 300-313, April.
  23. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1992. "Megamergers in banking and the use of cost efficiency as an antitrust defense," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 203, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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