The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper analyzes the efficiency and profitability of Japanese banks from 2000-06. It uses a non-parametric approach, the data envelopment analysis (DEA) to analyze banks' cost and revenue efficiency. The results show that the performance of Japanese banks has steadily improved since 2001, but there are significant differences within the banking sector, with regional banks being less cost and revenue efficient relative to both City and Trust banks. While Japanese bank profitability is low compared to that in other advanced countries, there is considerable potential for efficiency gains, particularly through increased cost-sharing arrangements among regional banks, consolidation of regional banks with major or other regional banks, and the creation of bank consortia to pool resources for asset and risk management.