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Bank Efficiency, Ownership and Market Structure,Why are Interest Spreads so High in Uganda?

  • Heiko Hesse
  • Thorsten Beck

Using a unique bank-level dataset on the Ugandan banking system over the period 1999 to 2005, we explore the factors behind consistently high interest rate spreads and margins. While foreign banks charge lower interest rate spreads, we do not find a robust and economically significant relationship between privatization, foreign bank entry, market structure and banking efficiency. Similarly, macroeconomic variables can explain little of the over-time variation in bank spreads. Bank-level characteristics, on the other hand, such as bank size, operating costs, and composition of loan portfolio, explain a large proportion of cross-bank, cross-time variation in spreads and margins. However, time-invariant bank-level fixed effects explain the largest part of bank-variation in spreads and margins. Further, we find tentative evidence that banks targeting the low-end of the market incur higher costs and therefore higher margins.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper277.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 277.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:277
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Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad & Mody, Ashoka, 2004. "How foreign participation and market concentration impact bank spreads : evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3210, The World Bank.
  2. Barajas, Adolfo & Steiner, Roberto & Salazar, Natalia, 2000. "The impact of liberalization and foreign investment in Colombia's financial sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 157-196, October.
  3. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  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. 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.
  6. Stijn Claessens & Luc Laeven, 2004. "What drives bank competition? Some international evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 563-592.
  7. Laeven, Luc & Majnoni, Giovanni, 2005. "Does judicial efficiency lower the cost of credit?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1791-1812, July.
  8. 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.
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