Examining the competitiveness of banking sector in Sri Lanka
Keywords:bank competition, Panzar-Rosse approach, banking sector, state-owned banks, Sri Lanka
The banking sector in Sri Lanka has been portrayed by significant changes in the past few decades. It is widely perceived that competition in the Sri Lankan banking sector has improved since the introduction of the financial sector reforms in the 1990s. By applying Panzar-Rosse (PR) approach to test the degree of competitiveness, this paper assesses the validity of this claim in the context of the Sri Lankan banking sector during 1996-2018. The sample covers a broader set of bank-level panel data of the whole commercial banking sector which comprised of 25 licensed commercial banks. The EGLS procedure applied in this study revealed that during the stated period, the Sri Lankan banking sector had been moderately competitive. Further analysis also disclosed that there is no significant difference between the state-owned banks and private banks regarding their degree of competitiveness, as well as their temporal dynamics. Another striking observation revealed in this analysis is the lower level of competitiveness among foreign banks compared to the competitiveness of local banks. The Competitiveness of the Sri Lankan banking sector however is characterized by non-price competition, as on many occasions the interest rate depends on government policies. Hence, this study provides new insight into the nature of financial sector competitiveness in underdeveloped countries. The outcome of the research implies the necessity of attempts of all banks towards re-aligning their strategies to attract and retain customers. This would be the major challenge that banks face in accomplishing a higher level of competition in the banking industry in the future.
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