Market concentration and pricing behaviour of Sri Lankan banks

Shrimal Perera, Michael Skully, My Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the level of market concentration in Sri Lanka's banking sector is positively associated with bank?specific interest spreads after controlling for other bank?specific and exogenous influences.Design/methodology/approach ? A pooled, time?series and cross?section model is utilized which distinguishes between banks? dominance in loan and deposit market segments. Results are presented for the total sample as well as for a truncated sample of private?owned banks.Findings ? Changes in industry concentration do not affect bank?level interest margins of Sri Lankan banks. Nevertheless, the dominant Sri Lankan banks seem to extract them and banks? cost structures are priced in their interest spreads. The less?capitalized, high risk banks operate with narrow interest margins, possibly due to the relatively higher deposit rates they pay to attract deposits. Although regulatory changes seem to have no effect, the growing capital market exerts negative pricing pressure on Sri Lankan banks.Practical implications ? The regulators should closely watch banks with larger loan and deposit market shares because they seem to exploit their dominant presence and geographical reach to extract higher spreads. Similarly, state?owned banks should also draw regulatory attention for they extract higher interest margins, possibly, in lieu of their high operational inefficiency levels.Originality/value ? The authors employ an extended time?series and cross?section model which controls for sample heterogeneity using proxies for cost structures, risk profiles, regulatory restrictions and other environmental influences. Moreover, as far as it could be ascertained, this is the first such study on Sri Lanka's banking sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalSouth Asian Journal of Global Business Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2012


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