The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
We examine a large panel of more than 100 banks from Argentina to study the effects of bank consolidation on performance between December 1995 and December 2000, a period of heavy bank consolidation and relative calm. Overall, we find a positive and significant effect of bank consolidation on bank performance. Bank returns increase with consolidation, and insolvency risk is reduced. Additionally, the study suggests that mergers and privatizations have a beneficial effect on bank returns. The effects of a bank acquisition on return on equity is, however, negative. Acquisitions do not seem to have any effect on risk-adjusted returns. The study also finds that a bank's insolvency risk is reduced significantly through mergers and privatization and is unrelated to bank acquisitions.