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Financial innovation, strategic real options and endogenous competition : theory and an application to Internet banking


  • Richard J. Sullivan
  • David B. Nickerson

    (Fondazione Collegio Carlo Alberto
    Ted Rogers School of Management
    University Turin)


Innovations in financial services continuously influence the scope of financial intermediation and the nature of competition between intermediaries. This paper examines the optimal exercise of strategic real options to invest in such an innovation, Internet banking technology, within a two-stage game, parameterized by the distribution of bank size and uncertainty over the profitability of investment, and empirically tests the results on a novel data set. Unlike traditional options, in which the distribution of the future value of the underlying asset is exogenous and the timing of exercise affects only the return to the option holder, the timing of the exercise of real options in a strategic context allows the option holder to manipulate the distribution of returns to all players. The value of the strategic investment option in our model, as a consequence, depends on both expected future profits as well as the variance of those profits. Expected profits to an entrant depend, in equilibrium, on its size, as measured by existing market share (concentration) or total assets, relative to its rivals. Conditional on the degree of uncertainty, larger banks should, as a consequence, exercise their options earlier than smaller banks, for purely strategic advantages, and act as market leaders in the provision of Internet banking services. Like ordinary options, however, the value of the strategic investment option to both large and small banks increases in uncertainty, implying that early exercise will be more likely the more information is available about potential demand. We test these hypotheses on investment in Internet banking services with data from a sample of 1,618 commercial banks in the tenth Federal Reserve District during 1999. Evidence indicates that relative bank size, as measured by either market share or asset size, positively influences the likelihood of entry into Internet banking, and trend-adjusted variation in income per person (a proxy for uncertainty of demand) negatively influences the likelihood of entry into Internet banking. In addition, market concentration of a bank's competitive rivals has a negative relationship with the likelihood of entering the market for Internet banking services. These relations are evident in both bivariate analysis and in multivariate logit regression analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Sullivan & David B. Nickerson, 2003. "Financial innovation, strategic real options and endogenous competition : theory and an application to Internet banking," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 03-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, revised 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpw:psrwp03-01

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert DeYoung & William Hunter & Gregory Udell, 2004. "The Past, Present, and Probable Future for Community Banks," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 85-133, April.
    2. Hernández-Murillo, Rubén & Llobet, Gerard & Fuentes, Roberto, 2010. "Strategic online banking adoption," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1650-1663, July.
    3. Kagan, Albert & Acharya, Ram N. & Lingam, Rao S. & Kodepaka, Vinod, 2005. "Does Internet Banking Affect the Performance of Community Banks?," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19246, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. DeYoung, Robert & Lang, William W. & Nolle, Daniel L., 2007. "How the Internet affects output and performance at community banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 1033-1060, April.
    5. Bos, Jaap W.B. & Kolari, James W. & van Lamoen, Ryan C.R., 2013. "Competition and innovation: Evidence from financial services," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1590-1601.
    6. Donal G. MCKILLOP & Barry QUINN, 2015. "Web Adoption By Irish Credit Unions: Performance Implications," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(3), pages 421-443, September.
    7. John Goddard & Donal McKillop & John Wilson, 2009. "Which Credit Unions are Acquired?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 36(2), pages 231-252, December.
    8. John Hudson, 2012. "Internet Banking and the Marginal Internet User," Department of Economics Working Papers 7/12, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    9. Orviska, Marta & Hudson, John, 2009. "Dividing or uniting Europe? Internet usage in the EU," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 279-290, November.
    10. Elisabeta Pana & Sascha Vitzthum & David Willis, 2015. "The impact of internet-based services on credit unions: a propensity score matching approach," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 329-352, February.

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    Internet banking; Competition; Internet;

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