Bogdan Capraru, Iulian Ihnatov


In this paper we analyse determinants of bank profitability of EU15 banking systems for the period 2001-2011. We use as proxy for banks profitability the return on average assets (ROAA), the return on average equity (ROAE) and net interest margin (NIM). We also measure the impact of the first and the largest wave of enlargement (10 new members in 2004) on EU15 bank profitability, introducing a dummy variable. The contribution of this paper for the empirical literature is that there are no other studies that deal bank profitability for all EU 15 countries for the period considered (2001-2011). The literature splits the factors that influence banks’ profitability in two large groups: bank-specific (internal) factors and industry specific and macroeconomic (external) factors. Our results are in line with the economic theory. Cost to Income Ratio, credit risk and market concentration had a negative influence in case of all measures of banks’ profitability, while bank liquidity only for ROAE and NIM. The size of banks had a negative impact on NIM, suggesting that bigger the bank is, smaller the net interest margin ratio is, but, on the contrary, in case of ROAA, had a direct effect. The market concentration had a negative influence, meaning that the increasing competition, as a structural point of view, increases banks’ profitability. The results show us that the process of European Union enlargement from 2004 does not have significant impact on EU15 banking systems’ profitability. It has a week and negative effect only in case of net interest margin. As policy recommendations, we suggest for authorities a better supervision for credit risk and liquidity and maintaining a competitive banking environment. For banks’ management we also recommend to monitor the credit risk indicators, optimizing costs and diversifying the sources of income.

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determinants of banks’ profitability, EU enlargement, EU15

JEL Codes

G21, C14


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