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Does diversification improve the performance of German banks? Evidence from individual bank loan portfolios

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  • von Westernhagen, Natalja
  • Porath, Daniel
  • Hayden, Evelyn

Abstract

Should banks be diversified or focused? Does diversification indeed lead to enhanced performance and, therefore, greater safety for banks, as traditional portfolio and banking theory would suggest? This paper investigates the link between banks? profitability (ROA) and their portfolio diversification across different industries, broader economic sectors and geographical regions measured by the Herfindahl Index. 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. Moreover, we find that the impact of diversification depends strongly on the risk level. However, it is only for moderate risk levels and in the case of industrial diversification that diversification significantly improves the banks? returns.

Suggested Citation

  • von Westernhagen, Natalja & Porath, Daniel & Hayden, Evelyn, 2006. "Does diversification improve the performance of German banks? Evidence from individual bank loan portfolios," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2006,05, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp2:4536
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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Leon, 2017. "Implications of loan portfolio concentration in Cambodia," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(1), pages 282-296.
    2. Jahn, Nadya & Memmel, Christoph & Pfingsten, Andreas, 2013. "Banks' concentration versus diversification in the loan portfolio: New evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 53/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    3. 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.
    4. Ongena, Steven & Tümer-Alkan, Günseli & von Westernhagen, Natalja, 2015. "Do exposures to sagging real estate, subprime or conduits abroad lead to contraction and flight to quality in bank lending at home?," Discussion Papers 09/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. 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.
    6. Tabak, Benjamin M. & Fazio, Dimas M. & Cajueiro, Daniel O., 2011. "The effects of loan portfolio concentration on Brazilian banks' return and risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3065-3076, November.
    7. Bednarek, Peter & Dinger, Valeriya & von Westernhagen, Natalja, 2015. "Fundamentals matter: Idiosyncratic shocks and interbank relations," Discussion Papers 44/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    8. repec:spr:fininn:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40854-017-0069-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Claudia M. Buch & Katja Neugebauer, 2009. "Diversification of Banks' International Portfolios: Evidence and Policy Lessons," Working Paper / FINESS 2.4, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. repec:diw:diwfin:diwfin02040 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Duijm, Patty & Schoenmaker, Dirk, 2017. "European Banks Straddling Borders: Risky or Rewarding?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Busch, Ramona & Kick, Thomas, 2009. "Income diversification in the German banking industry," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2009,09, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    13. Beck, Thorsten & De Jonghe, Olivier, 2013. "Lending concentration, bank performance and systemic risk : exploring cross-country variation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6604, The World Bank.
    14. Sarath Delpachitra & Laurence Lester, 2013. "Non-Interest Income: Are Australian Banks Moving Away from their Traditional Businesses?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 190-199, June.
    15. 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.
    16. Nadya Jahn & Christoph Memmel & Andreas Pfingsten, 2016. "Banks’ Specialization versus Diversification in the Loan Portfolio," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 17(1), pages 25-48, April.
    17. repec:bla:ausecp:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:345-367 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:5:y:2017:i:1:p:1339771 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Dirk Schoenmaker & Wolf Wagner, 2013. "Cross-Border Banking in Europe and Financial Stability," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 1-22, February.
    20. Line Drapeau & Claudia Champagne, 2015. "Do Syndicated Loans Influence Systemic Risk? An Empirical Analysis of the Canadian Syndicated Loan Market," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 5, pages 22-41, November.
    21. Fang, Yiwei & van Lelyveld, Iman, 2014. "Geographic diversification in banking," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 172-181.
    22. Mariarosa Borroni & Simone Rossi, 2017. "Does revenue diversification still matter in banking? Evidence from some European countries," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1723, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    23. Beck, Thorsten & De Jonghe, Olivier & Mulier, Klaas, 2017. "Bank sectoral concentration and (systemic) risk: Evidence from a worldwide sample of banks," CEPR Discussion Papers 12009, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    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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