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Banking Spreads in Latin America

  • Gaston Gelos

Intermediation spreads in Latin America are high by international standards. This paper examines the determinants of bank interest margins in that region using bank and country-level data from 85 countries, including 14 Latin American economies. The results suggest that Latin America has higher interest rates, less efficient banks, and larger reserve requirements than other regions and that these factors have a significant impact on spreads. However, Latin American countries do not differ markedly from their peers in other aspects that are found important in determining the cost of financial intermediation, such as inflation and bank profit taxation.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/44.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/44
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  1. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2004. "What Drives Bank Competition? Some International Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 563-83, June.
  2. Demirguc, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 1999. "Determinants of Commercial Bank Interest Margins and Profitability: Some International Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 379-408, May.
  3. Gelos, Gaston & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Transparency and International Portfolio Holdings," CEPR Discussion Papers 4476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Brock, Philip L. & Rojas Suarez, Liliana, 2000. "Understanding the behavior of bank spreads in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 113-134, October.
  5. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Laeven, Luc & Levine, Ross, 2004. "Regulations, Market Structure, Institutions, and the Cost of Financial Intermediation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 593-622, June.
  6. Agnes Belaisch, 2003. "Do Brazilian Banks Compete?," IMF Working Papers 03/113, International Monetary Fund.
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