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Bank efficiency, ownership, and market structure : why are interest spreads so high in Uganda ?

  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Hesse, Heiko

Using a unique bank-level data set on the Ugandan banking system during 1999-2005, the authors explore the factors behind consistently high interest rate spreads and margins. While foreign banks charge lower interest rate spreads, they 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, the authors find tentative evidence that banks targeting the low end of the market incur higher costs and therefore higher margins.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4027.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4027
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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. Stijn Claessens & Luc Laeven, 2004. "What drives bank competition? Some international evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 563-592.
  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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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