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Safety in numbers? Geographic diversification and bank insolvency risk

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Listed:
  • Joseph P. Hughes
  • William W. Lang
  • Loretta J. Mester
  • Choon-Geol Moon

Abstract

The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act, passed in September 1994 and effective June 1, 1997, will allow nationally chartered banks to branch across state lines. This act will remove impediments to interstate expansion and permit the consolidation of existing interstate networks ; What will be the impact of this legislation on bank performance and bank safety? Removing impediments to geographic expansion should improve the risk-return tradeoff faced by most banks. However, this paper argues that economic theory does not tell us whether an improvement in the risk-return tradeoff will lead to a reduction in the volatility of bank returns or in the probability of insolvency. ; The authors investigate the role of geographic diversification on bank performance and safety using bank holding company data. The authors find that an increase in the number of branches lowers insolvency risk and increases efficiency for inefficient bank holding companies; an increase in the number of states in which a bank holding company operates increases insolvency risk but has an insignificant effect on efficiency. Branch expansion raises the risk of insolvency for efficient bank holding companies, while an increase in the number of states has an insignfiicant effect on insolvency risk
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Suggested Citation

  • Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Safety in numbers? Geographic diversification and bank insolvency risk," Proceedings 504, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhpr:504
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rebecca S. Demsetz & Philip E. Strahan, 1995. "Diversification, size, and risk at bank holding companies," Research Paper 9506, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Jalal D. Akhavein & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1996. "The Effects of Megamergers on Efficiency and Prices: Evidence from a Bank Profit Function," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-03, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Loretta J. Mester, 1994. "How efficient are Third District banks?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jan, pages 3-18.
    4. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 1998. "Bank Capitalization And Cost: Evidence Of Scale Economies In Risk Management And Signaling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 314-325, May.
    5. Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Efficient banking under interstate branching," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 1045-1075.
    6. Berger, Allen N. & DeYoung, Robert, 1997. "Problem loans and cost efficiency in commercial banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 849-870, June.
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    8. Peter S. Rose, 1995. "Diversification and interstate banking," Proceedings 461, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Joseph P. Hughes & William Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1995. "Recovering Technologies that Account for Generalized Managerial Preferences: An Application to Non-Risk-Neutral Banks," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 95-16, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Chong, Beng Soon, 1991. "The Effects of Interstate Banking on Commercial Banks' Risk and Profitability," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 78-84, February.
    11. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Evelyn Hayden & Daniel Porath & Natalja Westernhagen, 2007. "Does Diversification Improve the Performance of German Banks? Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 32(3), pages 123-140, December.
    2. Maudos, Joaquin & Pastor, Jose M. & Perez, Francisco & Quesada, Javier, 2002. "Cost and profit efficiency in European banks," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 33-58, February.
    3. Akhigbe, Aigbe & McNulty, James E. & Stevenson, Bradley A., 2013. "How does transparency affect bank financial performance?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 24-30.
    4. Barra, Cristian & Destefanis, Sergio & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe, 2016. "Risk and regulation: A difference-in-differences analysis for Italian local banks," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 25-32.
    5. Enzo Dia, 2004. "The bank’s risk insurance and the EMU," Working Papers 72, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised May 2004.
    6. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
    7. Berlin, Mitchell & Mester, Loretta J., 1998. "On the profitability and cost of relationship lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 873-897, August.
    8. Enzo Dia, 2002. "A Reconciliation of the Evidence about Bank Lending with Portfolio Theory," Working Papers 56, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2002.
    9. Acharya, Viral V & Hasan, Iftekhar & Saunders, Anthony, 2002. "The Effects of Focus and Diversification on Bank Risk and Return: Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 3252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. John S. Jordan, 1998. "Problem loans at New England banks, 1989 to 1992: evidence of aggressive loan policies," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 23-38.
    11. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:120-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Sissy, Aisha Mohammed & Amidu, Mohammed & Abor, Joshua Yindenaba, 2017. "The effects of revenue diversification and cross border banking on risk and return of banks in Africa," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-18.
    13. Akhigbe, Aigbe & Stevenson, Bradley A., 2010. "Profit efficiency in U.S. BHCs: Effects of increasing non-traditional revenue sources," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 132-140, May.

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