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German Banking Structure, Pricing and Competition

Implications and International Policy Perspectives

Benjamin H. Dietrich

The German banking system is characterized by high fragmentation, low profitability and low foreign ownership. Main reason for this is its particular structure that can best be described as forced segmentation. This structure produces local banking markets. The book argues that local bank competition is not as pronounced as national concentration ratios predict and presents a bank pricing study which indicates that local banks, banks located in less densely populated areas and less productive banks tend to charge higher prices for retail bank services than banks that operate nationally. These results as well as lessons drawn from international reforms suggest that the German banking system could benefit from cross-pillar consolidation which promises to export competition from the national to local banking markets. Last but not least, the book analyzes political economy implications of banking reforms and provides suggestions on status quo resolution by identifying ways to facilitate reform implementation in the German banking system.
Contents: Stability and Efficiency in Banking – German Banking System Performance – Banking Structure and Pricing – Behavior of German Banks – Local Competition in the German Banking System – Consolidation in German Banking – The Political Economy of Banking Sector Reform – Fostering German Banking Sector Reform – Lessons from International Reform Cases.