Working paper series / Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften : Finance & Accounting
How politics influence state-owned banks : the case of German savings banks
- This paper is one of the first to analyse political influence on state-owned savings banks in a developed country with an established financial market: Germany. Combining a large dataset with financial and operating figures of all 457 German savings banks from 1994 to 2006 and information on over 1,250 local elections during this period we investigate the change in business behavior around elections. We find strong indications for political inflence: the probability that savings banks close branches, lay-off employees or engage in merger activities is significantly reduced around elections. At the same time they tend to increase their extraordinary spendings, which include support for social and cultural events in the area, on average by over 15%. Finally, we find that savings banks extend significantly more loans to their corporate and private customers in the run-up to an election. In further analyses, we show that the magnitude of political influence depends on bank specific, economical and political circumstances in the city or county: political influence seems to be facilitated by weak political majorities and profitable banks. Banks in economically weak areas seem to be less prone to political influence.
Information theory and the role of intermediaries in corporate governance
Reinhard H. Schmidt
- We investigate the connection between corporate governance system configurations and the role of intermediaries in the respective systems from a informational perspective. Building on the economics of information we show that it is meaningful to distinguish between internalisation and externalisation as two fundamentally different ways of dealing with information in corporate governance systems. This lays the groundwork for a description of two types of corporate governance systems, i.e. insider control system and outsider control system, in which we focus on the distinctive role of intermediaries in the production and use of information. It will be argued that internalisation is the prevailing mode of information processing in insider control system while externalisation dominates in outsider control system. We also discuss shortly the interrelations between the prevailing corporate governance system and types of activities or industry structures supported.
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Networks of micro and small enterprise banks : a contribution to financial sector development :[Version January 2004]
Reinhard H. Schmidt
John D. Von Pischke
- The paper is a follow-up to an article published in Technique Financière et Developpement in 2000 (see the appendix to the hardcopy version), which portrayed the first results of a new strategy in the field of development finance implemented in South-East Europe. This strategy consists in creating microfinance banks as greenfield investments, that is, of building up new banks which specialise in providing credit and other financial services to micro and small enterprises, instead of transforming existing credit-granting NGOs into formal banks, which had been the dominant approach in the 1990s. The present paper shows that this strategy has, in the course of the last five years, led to the emergence of a network of microfinance banks operating in several parts of the world. After discussing why financial sector development is a crucial determinant of general social and economic development and contrasting the new strategy to former approaches in the area of development finance, the paper provides information about the shareholder composition and the investment portfolio of what is at present the world's largest and most successful network of microfinance banks. This network is a good example of a well-functioning "private public partnership". The paper then provides performance figures and discusses why the creation of such a network seems to be a particularly promising approach to the creation of financially self-sustaining financial institutions with a clear developmental objective.