Does Scale Matter in Community Bank Performance? Evidence Obtained by Applying Several New Measures of Performance
44 Pages Posted: 15 May 2018 Last revised: 21 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018-03-13
SUPERSEDES WP16-15 We consider how size matters for banks in three size groups: banks with assets of less than $1 billion (small community banks), banks with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion (large community banks), and banks with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion (midsize banks). Community banks have potential advantages in relationship lending compared with large banks. However, increases in regulatory compliance and technological burdens may have disproportionately increased community banksâ€™ costs, raising concerns about small businessesâ€™ access to credit. Our evidence suggests that (1) the average costs related to regulatory compliance and technology decrease with size; (2) while small community banks exhibit relatively more valuable investment opportunities, larger community banks and midsize banks exploit theirs more efficiently and achieve better financial performance; (3) unlike small community banks, large community banks have financial incentives to increase lending to small businesses; and (4) for business lending and commercial real estate lending, large community banks and midsize banks assume higher inherent credit risk and exhibit more efficient lending. Thus, concern that small business lending would be adversely affected if small community banks find it beneficial to increase their scale is not supported by our results.
Keywords: community banking, scale, financial performance, small business lending
JEL Classification: G21, L25
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