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Branching, lending and competition in Italian banking

Marta Degl’Innocenti, Tapas Mishra () and Simon Wolfe

The European Journal of Finance, 2018, vol. 24, issue 3, 208-230

Abstract: With the liberalization of legal barriers to the opening of bank branches in 1990, both market structure and competitive conditions in Italy changed profoundly as banks expanded their branching networks. This paper provides novel empirical evidence on how changes of the branch network structure at the province level affect the performance and lending activity of banks across the period 1993–2011. In particular, we adopt two modes of analysis. The first focuses on the impact of diversification strategies on performance, lending and funding strategies at the province level. The second one examines how the increase of big banks' local presence affects single-market bank performance and lending strategies. Our results show that geographical diversification strategies can reduce performance, the adjusted Lerner Index of banks and lending activities, but increase the Lerner Index in deposit markets. Furthermore, we find that the expansion of branches by large-medium sized banks in concentrated markets can reduce the Lerner Index for the deposit market and the amount of loans offered by single-market banks.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1080/1351847X.2017.1303526

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