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.
Robert Cull, Maria Martinez Peria, and Jeanne Verrier
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper presents recent trends in bank ownership across countries and summarizes the evidence regarding the implications of bank ownership structure for bank performance and competition, financial stability, and access to finance. The evidence reviewed suggests that foreign-owned banks are more efficient than domestic banks in developing countries, promote competition in host banking sectors, and help stabilize credit when host countries face idiosyncratic shocks. But there are tradeoffs, since foreign-owned banks can transmit external shocks and might not always expand access to credit. The record on the impact of government bank ownership suggests few benefits, especially for developing countries.