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The impact of financial liberalisation on the efficiency of Malaysian banks: an empirical analysis using frontier measurements

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posted on 25.09.2014, 14:52 by Azrie Tamjis
The Asian financial crisis in 1997 98 left a severe impact on Malaysia s economy and banking system. This has forced the Malaysian government to undertake financial restructuring initiatives to restore market and public confidence, and to meet the ongoing challenges associated with market structure, financial innovation and globalisation. Therefore, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) introduced a ten-year Financial Sector Master Plan (FSMP) to strengthen domestic banks and the regulatory structure, and to promote the banks efficiency by stimulating a competitive banking industry through financial liberalisation. The crisis for banks in Malaysia and the region has been extensively studied in the past (Sufian, 2010). However, empirical studies of the post-crisis period, and the implementation of the FSMP, remain limited. Hence, a data set of all banks in Malaysia, which covers the period 2000 2011, was employed to examine the effect of the FSMP s initiatives on Malaysian banks efficiency between 2000 and 2011. To measure this efficiency, this study employs both parametric and nonparametric models: namely, stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) and data envelopment analysis (DEA). Economic functions such as, cost-, standard profit- and alternative profit-efficiency were used in a 1-stage SFA model, which includes control variables (e.g. capital adequacy, asset quality and liquidity) and environmental variables (e.g. ownership, size, specialisation, deregulation periods and market structure) in the model specifications. In addition, this study employs SFA as the main measurement method, while the DEA model was used to cross-check consistency (Resti, 1997; Bauer et al., 1998). Both SFA and DEA demonstrated that, in most cases, the consistency was moderate. The level of cost efficiency of Malaysian banks worsened over the years 2000 2011, with average cost efficiency during this period was at 76.5%. Despite the various liberalisation measures introduced to the banking industry particularly during the three phases of the FSMP; 2000 2003; 2004 2007; 2008 2011 cost efficiency trended downward, due to the effects of consolidation by domestic banks, deregulation of interest rates, the introduction of foreign Islamic banks, and the global credit crisis. Banks in Malaysia were forced to adjust their inputs and outputs to the rapid changes in the banking industry, which might have made a negative impact on cost efficiency. On the other hand, the banks demonstrated a steadily increasing profit efficiency trend, which fluctuated with the introduction of interest rate liberalisation (early second phase of the FSMP (i.e. 2004)) and during the global credit crisis (early third phase of the FSMP (i.e. 2008)). The average profit efficiency for 2000 2011 was 93.3%. The profit efficiency exhibited an increasing trend in the first (2000-2003) and second (2004-2007) phases of the FSMP, suggesting that the effect of consolidation by domestic banks had resulted in higher market concentration and greater market power among the remaining banks. However, the profit efficiency average scores fell in 2004, 2008 and 2011. This is attributed to the deregulation of interest rates, the deleveraging of the inflow of foreign funds, and the rapid increase in policy interest rates. At a more granular level, domestic banks were found to be more cost efficient, but marginally less profit efficient, when compared to foreign banks. In terms of bank specialisation, conventional banks were more cost- and profit-efficient than Islamic banks. With regard to economies of scale, the majority of Malaysian banks revealed scale economies, illustrated by a U-shape, with medium-sized banks being more scale efficient than small and large banks. These results suggest that, to enhance Malaysian banks efficiency, the government must maintain competitive pressure on the large domestic banks that were consolidated during the first phase of the FSMP (2000-2003). Policymakers may want to further open up banking markets, improve risk management and governance, encourage financial innovation, and support expansion of smaller banks. The implementation of deregulation initiatives during periods of uncertainty (e.g. the global credit crisis) have also resulted in decreasing trend of cost and profit efficiency. Hence, monitoring initiatives, using tools such as frontier measurement is important for regulator s macro- and micro-prudential surveillance.





  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Azrie Tamjis

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.