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The efficiency of cooperative banks: the impact of environmental economic conditions

Francesca Battaglia, Vincenzo Farina (), Franco Fiordelisi and Ornella Ricci

Applied Financial Economics, 2010, vol. 20, issue 17, 1363-1376

Abstract: This article analyses the cost and profit efficiencies of cooperative banks. Cooperative banks are small financial institutions providing financial services in several local geographical areas, and they play a fundamental role in various European banking systems. Even though these small financial institutions present a homogeneous business model, their performance is strongly influenced by the economic conditions of their local markets. The efficiency measurement has to account for the heterogeneity of the environmental conditions. By using a large sample of Italian cooperative banks (2683 year observations) collected between 2000 and 2005, we estimated the cost and profit efficiency using Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) and including various environmental variables accounting for disparities among Italian regions. We show that environmental conditions substantially influence efficiency estimates: banks in the Northeast of Italy are shown to be the more cost efficient, benefiting from a favourable environment, while banks in the South of Italy display a higher profit efficiency, probably due to lower competitive pressures. We show that the coefficients for branches and the concentration of cooperative banks with respect to other banks are important both on the cost side and the profit side.

Date: 2010
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DOI: 10.1080/09603107.2010.491442

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