PIDE Working Papers 2007:23
This study aims at empirical investigation of the x-efficiency, scale economies, and technological progress of commercial banks operating in Pakistan using balance panel data for 29 banks. As banking sector efficiency is considered as a precondition for macroeconomic stability, monetary policy execution, and economic growth. We also make efficiency comparisons between the domestic and foreign banks and big banks. Our results indicate that the domestic banks operating in Pakistan are relatively less efficient than their foreign counterparts for the period 2000-05. The scale economies for small banks, especially foreign banks are higher. Our results suggest the existence of technological progress for all groups of banks for the year 2000 and onward. It was lowest for big banks in 2000 and highest for foreign banks in 2005. Again, technological progress is lower for domestic banks relative to foreign banks. The results show also that the market share of big five banks are declining over the period but average interest spread shows fluctuations. The main conclusions that can be drawn from these results are that mergers are more likely to take place, especially in small banks. If the mergers do take place between small domestic banks and foreign banks, these will reduce cost due to scale economies as well as x-efficiency (because foreign banks are x-efficient relative to small domestic banks). Even if mergers do take place between small and big banks, cost will reduce without conferring any monopolistic power tothese banks. This will also help in stability of the financial sector, which is an important concern of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). So the best policy option for SBP is to encourage mergers, while keeping a check on interest spread, so that the benefits from reduction in cost due to mergers are passed on to depositors and borrowers.