27 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2016
Date Written: May 5, 2013
This study examines the business model and the viability of very small commercial banks in emerging market context. Using a unique sample of 141 Russian banks with less than a $10 million in assets, I trace performance, survival, recapitalization and growth patterns of these dwarf banks in response to the sharp increase in the minimum capital requirements. I find that dwarf banks are, on average, low-risk financial intermediaries that perform simple operations and have significantly higher survival rates in local markets with poor economic and banking services outreach characteristics. I also find that the average dwarf banks withstand the regulatory capital shock surprisingly well by securing fresh capital injection followed by a twofold asset size increase. The results of this study contribute to the literature on the relationship between the small bank business model, local banking markets characteristics and long-term viability. They also provide new evidence on the expected and unexpected outcomes of the “too small to survive” regulatory intervention into the banking market size structures.
Keywords: small banks, “too small to survive,” bank capital requirements, emerging market banking, Russia
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