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The impact of network size on bank branch performance

  • Beverly Hirtle

Despite recent innovations that might have reduced banks' reliance on brick-and-mortar branches for distributing retail financial services, the number of U.S. bank branches has continued to increase steadily over time. Further, an increasing percentage of these branches are held by banks with large branch networks. This paper assesses the implications of these developments by examining a series of simple branch performance measures and asking how these measures vary, on average, across institutions with different branch network sizes. ; The key findings are that banks with 100 to 500 branches ("mid-sized networks") had lower bank-average deposits per branch and roughly equal volumes of small business loans per branch, but no reduction in net deposit costs, relative to banks with larger branch networks. When compared to banks with 100 or fewer branches, mid-sized branch networks had lower bank-average deposits and small business loan volume per branch, but had lower net deposit costs. The analysis shows no systematic relationship between branch network size and overall institutional profitability. The results imply that mid-sized branch networks may be at a competitive disadvantage, especially relative to the very largest branch networks.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 211.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:211
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  1. Timothy H. Hannan & Robin A. Prager, 2004. "Multimarket bank pricing: an empirical investigation of deposit interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-38, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Timothy H. Hannan, 2001. "Retail fees of depository institutions, 1994-99," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-11.
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  12. Athanassopoulos, Antreas D, 1998. "Nonparametric Frontier Models for Assessing the Market and Cost Efficiency of Large-Scale Bank Branch Networks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 172-92, May.
  13. Robert DeYoung & William C. Hunter & Gregory F. Udell, 2003. "The past, present, and probable future for community banks," Working Paper Series WP-03-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  15. Nayantara D. Hensel, 2003. "Strategic Management of Cost Efficiencies in Networks: Cross-country Evidence on European Branch Banking," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(3), pages 333-360.
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  18. Beverly Hirtle & Christopher Metli, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. bank branch networks: growth, consolidation, and strategy," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 10(Jul).
  19. 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.
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