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DETERMINANTS OF BANK PROFITABILITY IN THE SOUTH EASTERN EUROPEAN REGION

Panayiotis P. Athanasoglou
Bank of Greece

Matthaios D. Delis
Athens University of Economics and Business

Christos K. Staikouras
Athens University of Economics and Business

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study is to examine the profitability behaviour of bank-specific, industryrelated and macroeconomic determinants, using an unbalanced panel dataset of South Eastern European (SEE) credit institutions over the period 1998-2002. The estimation results indicate that, with the exception of liquidity, all bank-specific determinants significantly affect bank profitability in the anticipated way. A key result is that the effect of concentration is positive, which provides evidence in support of the structure-conductperformance hypothesis, while at the same time some relevance of the efficient-structure hypothesis cannot be rejected. In contrast, a positive relationship between banking reform and profitability was not identified, whilst the picture regarding the macroeconomic determinants is mixed. The paper concludes with some remarks on the practicality and implementability of the findings.

Keywords: Bank profitability; South Eastern European banking sector; Random effects

JEL classification: G21; C23; L2

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Ioannis Asimakopoulos, Evangelia Georgiou, Heather Gibson and Theodora Kosma for very helpful comments. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Greece.

Correspondence:

Panayiotis P. Athanasoglou,
Economic Research Department,
Bank of Greece, 21 E. Venizelos Ave.,
102 50 Athens, Greece,
Tel. +30210-320 2449
E-mail: pathanasoglou@bankofgreece.gr


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