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Determinants of Bank Interest Margins in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Calixte Ahokpossi
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    Financial intermediation is low in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) compared to other regions of the world. This paper examines the determinants of bank interest margins using a sample of 456 banks in 41 SSA countries. The results show that market concentration is positively associated with interest margins, but the impact depends on the level of efficiency of each bank. In particular, compared to inefficient banks, efficient ones increase their margins more in concentrated markets. This indicates that policies that promote competition and reduce market concentration would help lower interest margins in SSA. The results also show that bank-specific factors such as credit risk, liquidity risk, and bank equity are important determinants of interest margins. Finally, interest margins are sensitive to inflation, but not to economic growth or public or foreign ownership. There are regional differences within SSA regarding the level of interest margins even after controlling for other factors.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/34.

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    Length: 21
    Date of creation: 31 Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/34
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    1. Gaston Gelos, 2006. "Banking Spreads in Latin America," IMF Working Papers 06/44, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Ho, Thomas S. Y. & Saunders, Anthony, 1981. "The Determinants of Bank Interest Margins: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 581-600, November.
    3. Allen N. Berger, 1994. "The relationship between capital and earnings in banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Luc Laeven & Ross Levine, 2004. "Regulations, market structure, institutions, and the cost of financial intermediation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 593-626.
    5. 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.
    6. Saunders, Anthony & Schumacher, Liliana, 2000. "The determinants of bank interest rate margins: an international study," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 813-832, December.
    7. Carbo Valverde, Santiago & Rodriguez Fernandez, Francisco, 2007. "The determinants of bank margins in European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2043-2063, July.
    8. Boot, Arnoud W. A., 2000. "Relationship Banking: What Do We Know?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-25, January.
    9. Claeys, Sophie & Vander Vennet, Rudi, 2008. "Determinants of bank interest margins in Central and Eastern Europe: A comparison with the West," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 197-216, June.
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