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Impact of Competition on Bank Performance

Info: 5441 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: BusinessBanking


This study focuses on a research set forth to examine the linkage of competitive obsession and/or excessive competitiveness to financial impacts (credit boom/crunch) on the banking industry. Organisations concern for the survival of business at all costs has transformed into a strong credence that they can control and dominate human, physical, natural and intangible resources, thereby direct the business world now and in future. This has induced an underestimation of some immeasurable and unfathomable trends in business. Now the business world is being battered with harsh economic and financial struggle. Hence Ezer and Demetis (2007:57) states:

“Our obsession with control has become part of our validation as a species.”

At this time all countries and a huge number of firms has been impinged on, by recent the credit crunch.

1.1 Background

There are huge reasons for the competitive activities of countries, banks and Multinational Enterprises (MNE’s). Some of these reasons are to maximise wealth and minimise cost. In the 1970’s the banks were not highly driven by competitive force (Black and Strahan, 2002). Countries and Multinational Enterprises take advantage globalisation and free trade. However, the banking industry today has become quite competitive and involved in subprime lending. The increase in competition among banks led to less proficient screening aptitude and credits granted to less worthy customers (Rajan, 2008). In addition, MNEs engage in drastic activities across nations termed as an abuse of free trade.

The recent economic situation emerges quite troublesome for everyone. Credit concerns are now crucial and are imperative in ensuring successes in international business. This requires the aid of banks as MNEs are in battle with an unpleasant financial crisis. Nevertheless, would these banks who are also hit by the credit struggle, save themselves, talk more of aiding the MNE’s or any other business and/or customers.

The financial market crisis began early in 2007 and has resulted to losses in the market and loss of confidence in financial institutions across the globe (World Economic Forum, 2008).The causes of the credit crunch are traced to a number of identified causes (Johnson and Kwak, 2009). To mention a few are subprime investments, government neglect of banking activities, and the abuse of free trade, mainly but not wholly originating from the United States. Some of these causes are still in repetition dated back to 1966 and are yet to be eradicated. Financial crisis originating in the 1960’s has been re-occurring in the 70’s, 80’s and of present, hence, it is not a novel issue.

What is yet to be known is why the credit crunch keep re-occurring from similar causes, and the possible existence of a common element among these ‘causes’ which is unseen or rather covered in a veil, that could make or break the achievement of a Company’s objective. This common element could be termed extreme competitiveness or competitive obsession. It is unknown if competitive obsession could have contributed to the credit crunch.
A study and understanding of this problem could proffer solutions and thus, possibly promote international business and financial integrity on a global scale.

1.2 Research Purpose

This research is not focused on identifying and putting blames on various organisations or their activitities that might have caused the credit crunch. The aim of this study is to identify the relationship between competitiveness- its obsession and the credit crunch, and to determine whether this competitive obsession is found within the activities of the organisations that might have caused the credit crunch.

1.3 Research Questions

The questions to be researched will be principally concentrated on the grounds/motivations in which business, banks and regulators take drastic decisions and engage in dangerous activities that might have led to the credit crunch. The answers to find out will thus be:

What this ground/motivation is?
What is the existence of this ground/motivation among different institutions?
What the relationship of this ground/motivation could have to the credit crunch?

1.4 Implication of the Dissertation

This study develops a new theoretical model, which incorporates two “issues” which can be found today (competitive obsession and the credit crunch) in to the notion of global economic challenges in respect to nations and MNEs. The practical significance of this study involves proffering some guiding principle/course of action for globally competitive firms in the course of competitive/strategic decisions that is accountable. How firms react to the pressures of international competition and the chances of taking comparative advantage on the macro level has been deemed importantly stressed by Herrmann (2008), describing his research as only the beginning of a broader analysis. This study tends to continue from Herrmann’s research, but relating it to the credit crunch. There are obviously exclusions in the literature, but the association of competitiveness and the credit crunch are very hardly studied in some intensity. This study tries to make the association of these two issues overt.

1.5 The Structure of the Study


2.1 Introduction

Competitiveness and the credit crunch are two different broad issues, which however are not new in the literature. Firms aspire to have a competitive advantage/edge to survive in the global market; nevertheless, the extreme cases of this competitiveness that could be very fruitful or drastic are not put in to so much consideration. Furthermore, the extreme cases of credit facility (over or under extending), might or might not have presented a favourable business condition.

2.2 Review of Studies

An attempt to review the whole issues on competitiveness and the credit crunch would be a task of great difficulty, size and strength. Both subjects have been in academic and organisational practice for a very long time. Hence, the re-evaluation of literature will highly pinpoint a survey as well as case research done. Given huge amount of data and research carried out through the years, some important studies have been omitted. Apologies are made for such omissions while, other studies which might be perceived as of less significance, are been utilised.

2.3 Sections of Review

There are large amounts of literature works significant to this study, however, this chapter will focus on:

Background : History, Present Future
Competitiveness and the Credit Crunch Defined
Competitive Obsession- Favourable or Unfavourable
National and firm competitiveness [Porters Diamond]
Competition in the Banking Industry
Government/country competitiveness

2.4 Background: History, Present and the Future

The early years of this millennium has faced corporations with credit problems connected with the boom in the stock market. As this financial catastrophe receded, came the rise and boom of the housing sector, which subsequently transformed in to the unavoidable credit crunch (Cooper, 2008). Financial crises has always come and gone. the early crisis of 1990 affecting countries like Mexico, Russia, Norway and Sweden and the Asian crisis of 1997 involving countries like South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong (Allen and Gale; 2007, Nesvetailova, 2007).

The causes of these financial crises and/or credit crunch were sought after and found (Johnson and Kwak, 2009). Some of these causes were generic to some Nations while others were particular to a Nation. It is found common among nations that blames were laid on the inconsistent macroeconomic policies of government and financial institutions (Allen and Gale; 2007, Nesvetailova, 2007; Turner, 2008; Cooper, 2008). Some particular causes found in the nations like the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) are the sub-prime lending and housing boom (Rajan, 2008), the abuse of free trade by the promoters of free trade (Turner, 2008), and corruption in nations like Indonesia (Allen and Gale; 2007).

Can the misdeeds of government and financial institutions be associated to competitiveness? Porter (1998) portrays that competitive advantage of nations convey new government and business functions for the attainment of competitiveness and success. Constantly, government is ineffectual in whatever it gets to do as she constantly fall short in her industrial policies and in tackling the issues of competitive lead (O’Shaughnessy, 1996). Hartungi (2006), stress the competitive impacts of globalisation among nations, in the flow of labour and capital. Thus, government of nations, especially the developing ones are being threatened by competition from other nations. In consequence, these governments deregulate and hence make weak their policies for fear of alien investors relocating their businesses to another nation (Hartungi 2006; Buiter, 2007). Turner (2008) on the other hand echoes the abuse of free trade as firms utilise the benefits of free trade by carrying their dealings across various nations, with the aim to maximise their profit at the least cost. Thus, while (Hartungi; Buiter) accuses the government, Turner accuses the Multinational firms. Notwithstanding, both government and Firms actions are rational justified to be a move to beat competition.

The future of the economy, given this recent credit crunch is still bleak and insecure. There are no quick or magic solutions to this credit troubles. Most banks still hold back on granting credit and economic endeavors are still seriously threatened and extremely bad (Lorenzen, 2009).

2.5 Competitiveness and the Credit Crunch Defined

Competitiveness, which is found at the heart of business firms and nations, has always been an inevitable desire, as firms and nations struggle for survival and to outperform one another by gaining a competitive edge, comparative/absolute advantage. Given different circumstances and/or surroundings, competitiveness itself, has defined and implied differently by academic scholars/ authors. Since the theories of Adam Smith in the 1770s and Ricardo in the early 1960s, the models of Porter (1980) and Krugman (1994) prior the other current ones, accentuated by Cao (2008) and Chikán (2008) national and firm competitiveness, given the global competitive force is still obsessive. The rationale behind competitiveness stays the same; changes are found to exist on strategies engaged to accomplish it, the means of maintaining competitiveness in a rapid and constant change of business environ and processes.

In the literature, competitiveness has been widely defined. The Office of Competition and Economic Analysis (OCEA) (2009) echo, “Competitiveness means different things to different people. To an economist, it may mean how well a country is performing compared to other economies, as embodied in the standard of living and changes in national productivity. To a policy maker, it may mean how a new regulation changes the ability of affected businesses to compete. To a business owner, it may mean changes in profitability as reflected in market share for its goods and services in a low-cost market place.” Hence there are no specific or clear definition of competitiveness could be generally satisfactory, rather they are given different interpretations to best match one’s requirements or task (Aiginger, 2006; Ketels, 2006; Siggel, 2006; OCEA, 2009). Garelli (2006: 3), from an economic and management perspective defines competitiveness as “a field in economics that reconciles and integrates several concepts and theories from economics and management into a series of guiding principles driving the prosperity of a nation or an enterprise.”

With regard to the credit crunch, which is the second concern, finance and credit availability has always been the blood of every enterprise that ensures the running of its business operations. The credit crunch or credit crises, financial squeeze, or financial crises have been termed differently by different nations, firms, scholars and institutions. Some authors further use these terms sequentially. Hence, for example, the credit crunch might have resulted from a capital crunch or the financial crises have led to a recession. However, the implied meaning remains the same. This financial instability has long existed, as well as economic theories such as the efficient market theories (EMT), Keynes’s and the Minskyan theories and hypothesis.

Watanabe (2007:642) defines the credit crunch as “the reduction in credit supply available to borrowers, particularly bank lending supply, for some lender specific reasons.” Watanabe further describes a difference between financial crisis and the credit crunch as thus: the financial crisis involving banks breakdown, financial mismanagement and volatility, while the credit crunch involving a incidental hindrance of banks lending activities, arising from capital shortage. Similarly, Ryder (2009:76) states, “The uncertainty in the global financial markets has led to a dramatic reduction in the availability of affordable credit, or credit crunch.”

2.6 Competitive Obsession- Favourable or Unfavourable

The history of excessive competition is traced to the course of economic development and evolution of industrial formation in different countries in the globe, arising from changes in demand leading to a poor economic cycle or even recessions (Cao, 2008).

One of the strong criticisms of competitive obsession is that of Krugman (1994) and (Cao, 2008) on excessive competition. Krugman bases his arguments on three points- (1) that apprehensions on competitiveness, are as an empirical issue, baseless; (2) that the definition of economic setback as one of international competition is nevertheless striking to lots of people. Finally, that obsession with competitiveness is incorrect, dangerous, distorting domestic policies and a threat to the international economic system. Hence, thinking competitively will one-way or the other lead to bad policy making. Both Krugman and Cao, stress the misinformed and common thinking in economic theory that intensification of competition can improve economic and social welfare. Aiginger (2006) in his competitiveness defined stresses its non-exclusion of strategies to harm neighbouring countries. Thus, assumptions have been made about obsession being a negative term (Dance, 2003).

On the other hand, excessive/obsessive competitiveness has been identified to improve welfare (productivity and social) in an economy, as well as the possibility of positive externalities and spillovers (Brahm, 1995; Aiginger, 2006). Norcia and Flener (2008) in the retail experience, suggests that a means to not just survive but excel in the recent financial crisis is to become more obsessed, with the customer experience for example. Obsession with customer experience is further identified as Mr Philip Green, the owner of Bhs, achieved a historical largest profit for the company, by being obsessed with customer value, price, quality and market (Mazur, 2002). Identifying competitive obsession as good however, is dependent on it being properly focused (Dance, 2003).

This research however, neither supports nor opposes the impact or effects of competitive obsession on firms as well as on the economy, but tries to find out if competitiveness and its obsession might have resulted to the recent credit crunch.

2.7 National and Firm Competitiveness [Porters Diamond]

Chikán (2008: 24-25) presents the definition of both firm and national competitiveness:

“Firm competitiveness is a capability of a firm to sustainably fulfil its double purpose: meeting customer requirements at a profit. This capability is realised through offering on the market goods and services which customers value higher than those offered by competitors.”


“National competitiveness is a capability of a national economy to operate ensuring an increasing welfare of its citizens at its factor productivity sustainably growing. This capability is realised through maintaining an environment for its companies and other institutions to create, utilize and sell goods and services meeting the requirements of global competition and changing social norms.”

Chikán further stresses the existence of a structural homogeneity with the two definitions, as both are described as capabilities, sharing similar root in economic and social thinking, involving strategic governance and the thought of sustainability. Thus, Garelli (2006) stipulates that firms play their main role of achieving economic benefit, while nations provide the necessary framework to maximise the economic benefit, hence their fate is entangled and cannot be managed singly.

The interconnection of competitiveness at national and firm level has been presented by Porter’s (1990) diamond framework. As concerns gaining sustainable advantage, Porter (1998:71) throws the question himself “which firms from which nations will reap them”

Porter’s model is useful to analyse competitiveness and its various factors (Garelli, 2006; Chikán, 2008), thus, in this literature it will be used to analyse the banking industry. The different components of the diamond theory are used to summarise the activities of banks at national and firm level:

Factor conditions: these are factors of production as well as infrastructure. Innovation and efficiency via technology are inputs for banks competitiveness (Berger and Mester, 2001; Black and Strahan, 2002; Balgheim, 2007).

Demand conditions: customers are increasingly becoming more demanding of banks and less loyal (Balgheim, 2007). On the micro level, mainly households and businesses take on banking dealings, such as deposits, loans and other financial services (Goddard and Wilson, 2009). On the other hand, household in some countries avoid placing their savings in financial institutions and rather buy physical goods (Barth et al, 2006).

Related and supported industries: this factor takes account of cluster theory, which endorses firm’s concentration. The banking systems are becoming more concentrated, and the correlation of this concentration and competition is becoming vague (Carbo et al., 2009).

Firm’s strategy, structure, and rivalry: these are managerial actions and strategy in addition to domestic rivalry. as bankers detect a rival struggle to win in the inter-bank lending competition, they assume firms to show more potential than they had reasoned (Ogura, 2006)

Government: is another factor considered to determine competitiveness based on its influence on social norms and macroeconomic policy (Ketels, 2006; Chikán, 2008). However, Michael Porter disbelieves government to be a fifth determinant of competitiveness (Garelli, 2006).

Davies and Ellis (2000) summarised some of the limitations of Porter’s model- to involve omissions of object of analysis, that productivity at national level is confused with industry level success; confusion of trade factors with respect to comparative advantage; flaws in methodology and mode of reasoning; and a refutation of the assertions of the competitive advantage of nations.

2.8 Competition in the Banking Industry

Competitiveness cannot extricate itself from the conception and veracity of competition (Herciu and Ogrean, 2008). Goddard and Wilson (2009) describes banking competition as vital because a failure in the market or an anti-competitive behaviour by banks could have extreme consequences on the productive effectiveness, the welfare of the consumer and the growth of the economy. This explains further the development of competition in banking to be a highly relevant exercise paving way for good policies that could effectively regulate and supervise the banking and financial services sector (Goddard and Wilson 2009; Carbó et al., 2009).

At the 1970s, there were little or no competitive strains on banks, favourable government ruling and strong barriers of entry into the industry (Berger and Mester, 2001; Black and Strahan, 2002). Nonetheless, by the early 1980s, government rulings no more favoured the industry, technology and policy changes reduced the barrier entry, and competitive strains were on the increase (Berger and Mester, 2001; Black and Strahan, 2002). The increase in competition has a two effect as depicted by (Black and Strahan, 2002)-limiting the credit accessibility to new and small businesses, while also increasing its credit accessibility to big firms that are credit worthy.

In recent times, competition has become highly on the increase, banks loosen their creditworthiness assessment in sub-prime lending and non-worthy customers get access to credit (Marquez 2002; Ogura, 2006; Rajan, 2008). The consequence of this is of three ways- reducing the impact of observational learning; reducing the credit risk engaged by every bank, while on the other hand; increasing the total risk engaged by the whole banking industry (Ogura, 2006).

2.9 Government/country competitiveness

Competitiveness is a crosscutting issue that is influenced by the decisions of many different government agencies and is subject to a strategic goal for foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction (Ketels, 2006). Siggel (2006); Herciu and Ogrean (2008) presents a view of a country competitiveness arising from the harbouring of internationally competitive firms, industries, as well as government policies and regulations. The central or apex bank of a country is an agent of government, thus, understanding the macro/micro level competitiveness and its inter-linkages to the credit squeeze would require a study of internationally competitive banks and the central bank.


3.1 Macro Economic competitiveness- methods suggested by Authors

National competitiveness has been measured with indicators such as business competitiveness index of the world economic forum (WEF) (Ketels, 2006; Herciu and Ogrean, 2008; Chikán, 2008). The world economic forum (WEF) which engages its competitive analysis on global competitive index (GCI), sets out 12 determinants/ and or pillars of competitiveness – Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic Stability, Health and Primary Education, Higher education and training, Goods market efficiency, Labour market efficiency, Financial market sophistication, Technological readiness, Market size, Business sophistication, and Innovation.

3.2 Firm Level – Competition in Banking- methods suggested by Authors

The measure of competition in the banking industry is significantly subject to barriers on entry, internationally and at home (Barth et al, 2006). They stress- entry requirements and restrictions of foreign entry/ownership of domestic banks as two of the variables that could be used to qualitatively confine the degree to which competition in the banking sector is controlled. Nevertheless, some researchers [(Goddard and Wilson, 2007; 2009; Carbó et al., 2009)] draw inference from the observations of firms behaviour derived from theoretical models. Furthermore, the measurement of competitiveness differs broadly in terms of definition, scope, drivers and geographical location (Ketels, 2006). Irrespective of the measures that are put in use, the important issue is ensuring that these different measures make similar suppositions about competitive behaviour (Carbó et al., 2009).

Various studies and research has been engaged to understand the credit crunch on a macroeconomic level and on the financial aspects of firm Kang and Sawada (2008). However, the researchers environment and sense of direction in identifying and resolving problems, as well as the interested organisation and society subscribing to it, determines his/her research process or methodology (Ghuari and Gronhaug, 2005).

3.3 Adopted Methods for this Study

The main purpose of this present study is to examine the interrelationships of extreme competitiveness among firms and the financial impacts. This will be evaluated on a macro and micro level. The intended methodology will differ as well as emanate from the methodology utilised by the above reviewed researchers in a number of ways:

On the macro level, the interrelationships of firms and financial institutions will be evaluated by drawing form secondary data (GCI published by the WEF for 2008/09). For this study, however, the interrelationships will be evaluated utilising only two (2) – Institutions and Financial market sophistication, of the twelve determinants of competitiveness, rather than the combination of all the 12 determinants of competitiveness.

A collection of primary data via questionnaire: this questionnaire is intended not just to ascertain or measure competition on the bank firm level competition but going further to evaluate how this competition are driven by business factors such as changes in policy and business strategies.

To support the data collected via questionnaire will engage in an interview to give room for some of the top bank personnel to justify and give opinions on the issue of competitiveness and the credit crunch.


This research will triangulate its primary and secondary data collection method qualitatively and quantitatively. This approach will be important when considering the reliability and validity of data, and in trying to find similarities and differences existent in these different sources of data. Thus, the result of one research strategy are cross checked against the result of another research strategy (Bryman and Bell, 2007; Saunders et al, 2007).

Thus, the methodology utilised for this research will draw data qualitatively and quantitatively. Quantitative as it will engage in statistical measure and manipulations and qualitative as it will also engage in interviews and survey reports.


The secondary approach utilised for the purpose of this research will draw data from the global competitive report of the world economic forum (WEF), as well as textbooks, articles and journals by electronic and manual means.

Drawing data from secondary sources provides a channel as to the essential research work that needs to be carried out, as well as sufficient background information to ensure a direction for research (Cooper and Schindler, 2008).

The GCI prepared by the WEF, derives its data from the executive opinion survey (EOS) as well as from other globally recognised data sources such as the International monetary fund (IMF), organisation for economic co-operation and development (OECD) and national sources.

Institutions as described by the WEF, comprises the interaction of individuals, firms and governments to create wealth and income in the economy, thus, having a potent connection on development and competitiveness.

Financial sophistication on the other hand, emphasises a thorough review of risk ensuring an appropriate creative channelling of resources use.

In order to emphasise the connection and link of Institutions and Financial market sophistication, we adopt the correlation index calculation. A way of measuring the relative strength of correlation between two variables is done through a correlation coefficient (r) (Francis, 2004). Hence the product moment correlation coefficient formula:

r = n∑xy- ∑x∑y

√({n∑x^2 )- 〖(∑x)〗^(2 )} {n∑y^(2 )- (∑y)^(2 )}

Where r = product moment coefficient formula and is a number which lies between +1 and – 1
When r is far from zero (closer to +1 or – 1), there is a strong correlation
When r is close to zero, there is a large dispersion and variables uncorrelated
r= 0 signifies zero correlation
r= 1 signifies strong/direct connection between variables.
r= – 1 signifies strong/inverted connection between variables.
Where x and y = variables to be measured,
And n = number of (x, y) variables

3.6 Test of Robustness

The essence of the robustness test is to check the stability of findings from secondary analysis done above, in the sense of whether smaller or larger deviations could prejudice performance of the model or data findings to a large extent. Thus, the existence of gross errors in a small fraction of observation is regarded as a small deviation, the main aim of robust measures being to preserve against errors (Huber and Ronchetti, 2009)

Using a dataset of over 100 countries surveyed by the world economic forum, variables on a selected number of countries are drawn. To identify a relationship between competitiveness and the credit crunch (based on two pillars afore mentioned), this research uses the “robustness/ruggedness approach”, which has been effectual in Baxter and Kouparitsas (2004) in analysing its datasets of over 100 countries. Using this approach, a variable is identified to be a robust determinant of another vis-à-vis the recent credit crunch, if the correlation coefficient of both variables is far from zero (0).

3.7 Secondary sample collection

The systematic sampling method has been selected to take in to account a sample of 15 countries, which will be used for the measurement of connection between variables. This method of sampling has been found to create ease of use, especially where there is an inexistence of a sampling frame. The procedure of the sample systematically selected is as follows:

A hundred and thirty- four (134) economies have been covered in the 2008-2009, global competitiveness report by the world economic forum (WEF). Thus sampling 15 countries will be a selection of every 134/15 (8.93th) country. If every eighth (8th) country is selected, 8 x 15= 120, so the last 14 countries will certainly not be selected. On the other hand, if every ninth (9th) country is selected, 9 x 15= 135, definitely the final country selected does not subsist(see appendix 2).

One of the disadvantages of systematic sampling is that the sampling technique is not strictly random, since the selection of a random starting point would mean all subjects are pre-determined (Francis, 2004)

However, for the sake of the study 8.93th will be approximated to 9th, as it is more free of bias compared to selecting every 8th country. The countries selected are shown in the table (1).

Table 1

Column1 S/N Country Country Rank/no
Random Starting Point 1 Japan 9
2 Australia 18
3 Saudi Arabia 27
4 Tunisia 36
5 South Africa 45
6 Latvia 54
7 Turkey 63
8 Ukraine 72
9 Egypt 81
10 Georgia 90
11 Algeria 99
12 Albania 108
13 Mali 117
14 Nepal 126
15 – 135
Source: reproduced from the global competitive report (2008-2009)

3.8 Primary Data Collection

The purpose of the research is to identify the existence of competitive obsession or excessive competitiveness particularly on the actions and reactions of banks and the government on a macro and micro level interrelationship. To draw a wide range of data on competition among these institutions, the quantitative and qualitative approach is engaged.

3.9 Quantitative research: the questionnaire

This research will use questionnaire administered on bank staffs to collect data for quantitative analysis. This aspect of research will engage its analysis univariately in frequency tables, diagrams and percentage of variables, using the Microsoft excel. Subsequent on that, the data findings will be endorsed with that of the qualitative and secondary data.

The questionnaire is purposeful on the views of bank staffs relative to competitive actions that might have contributed to the credit crunch. The questions posed will therefore indirectly address the three (3) key research questions, then similarities and differences in answers triangulated with other research methods to be utilised in the

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