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Operating Performance of Banks among Asian Economies: An International and Time Series Comparison

Simon H. Kwan

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

June 2002

HKIMR Working Paper No. 13/2002

Per unit bank operating costs are found to vary significantly across Asian countries and over time. The strong correlation between per unit labor cost and physical capital cost suggests that there exist systematic differences in bank operating efficiency across countries. The declining operating costs between 1992 and 1997 is consistent with improving operating performance. The run-up in operating costs since 1997 coincided with the Asian financial crisis, suggesting that banks incurred additional costs to deal with problem loans while outputs declined simultaneously. Labor cost share is also found to decline significantly between 1997 and 1999, perhaps because banks were able to cut labor force faster than physical capital. Significant differences in labor cost share across countries suggest cross-country differences in bank production functions. The positive relation between labor cost share and wage rate indicates that banks use more labor due to higher labor force productivity, rather than labor being cheap.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Asian Banking, Bank Production, Bank Efficiency, Operating Performance, Asian Financial Crisis

JEL Classification: G21, D24

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Date posted: September 4, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Kwan, Simon H., Operating Performance of Banks among Asian Economies: An International and Time Series Comparison (June 2002). HKIMR Working Paper No. 13/2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1009375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1009375

Contact Information

Simon H. Kwan (Contact Author)
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )
101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
415-974-3190 (Phone)
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