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Does Diversification Improve the Performance of German Banks? Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios

Author

Listed:
  • Evelyn Hayden

    () (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Banking Analysis and Inspections Division)

  • Daniel Porath

    () (Deutsche Bundesbank, Banking and Financial Supervision Department)

  • Natalja von Westernhagen

    () (Deutsche Bundesbank, Banking and Financial Supervision Department)

Abstract

Should banks be diversified or focused? Does diversification indeed lead to increased performance and therefore greater safety on the part of banks as traditional portfolio and banking theory would suggest? This paper investigates the link between banks’ profitability and their portfolio diversification across different industries, broader economic sectors and geographical regions. To explore this issue, we use a unique data set of the individual bank loan portfolios of 983 German banks for the period from 1996 to 2002. The overall evidence we provide shows that there are no large performance benefits associated with diversification since each type of diversification tends to reduce the banks’ returns. Additionally, we find that banks do not use diversification to operate at a constant level of risk-return efficiency, which implies that banks are not risk-return efficient. Moreover, we find that the impact of diversification strongly depends on the risk level. However, only for moderate risk levels and in the case of industrial diversification does diversification significantly improve the banks’ returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Evelyn Hayden & Daniel Porath & Natalja von Westernhagen, 2006. "Does Diversification Improve the Performance of German Banks? Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," Working Papers 110, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:110
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    File URL: https://www.oenb.at/dam/jcr:29720c1a-2452-49da-8eae-709d620319e8/wp110_tcm16-38079.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Dairo Estrada & Angela González Arbeláez & Javier Gutierréz Rueda, 2008. "The Effects of Diversification on Banks´ Expected Returns," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 004991, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    2. Dickler, Robert A. & Schalast, Christoph, 2006. "Distressed debt in Germany: What's next? Possible innovative exit strategies," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 73, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    3. Alejandra Anastasi & Ricardo Bebczuk & Pedro Elosegui & Máximo Sangiácomo, 2008. "Productive, Geographic and Debtor Diversification and Its Effect on the Quality of the Credit Portfolio in Argentina," BCRA Working Paper Series 200836, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department.
    4. Busch, Ramona & Kick, Thomas, 2009. "Income diversification in the German banking industry," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2009,09, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Alejandra Anastasi & Ricardo Bebczuk & Pedro Elosegui & Máximo Sangiácomo, 2009. "Productive, Geographical and Clientele Diversification of Banks, and its Effect on the Loan Portfolio Performance in Argentina," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(56), pages 7-39, October -.
    6. García-Herrero, Alicia & Vázquez, Francisco, 2013. "International diversification gains and home bias in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2560-2571.
    7. Goddard, John & McKillop, Donal & Wilson, John O.S., 2008. "The diversification and financial performance of US credit unions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1836-1849, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    focus; diversification; monitoring; bank returns; bank risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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