The competitiveness and efficiency of the Vietnamese banking sector in the face of financial liberalisation
Pham, Chi Quang
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis provides empirical evidence of the impact of financial liberalisation on the competitiveness and efficiency of the Vietnamese banking sector by applying a combination of non-parametric frontier estimation methods, stochastic frontier methods and Tobit panel data regression techniques. There have been few studies in Vietnam linking financial liberalisation to banking sector competitiveness and efficiency. In the thesis, these parametric and non-parametric methods are applied in a pilot study to measure the allocative efficiency at branch level of the Vietnam Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (VBARD) – the largest bank in Vietnam in terms of total assets. The technical efficiency of the Vietnamese banking sector at bank level is then estimated using the same methods. The empirical investigation of the thesis is based on the use of branch-level data and bank-level data for a sample of more than 50 branches of VBARD across the country over the period 2004–2008 and around 40 banks over the period 2002–2012. Using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to measure allocative efficiency at branch level and technical efficiency at bank level and using stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) to estimate cost and profit efficiency at branch level, the thesis suggests that the contributions of financial liberalisation to bank efficiency are generally mixed, depending on the measures of bank efficiency used and the sub-periods taken into account. The thesis presents weak empirical evidence of the positive impacts of financial liberalisation on efficiency improvements of the Vietnamese banking sector at both branch and bank level. Banking efficiency is inconsistently increased over the period of financial liberalisation as the financial market is more liberated and the size of the banking sector substantially increased. Hence, industry rationalisation through reconsolidating and restructuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is required. The thesis suggests that both financial liberalisation and greater competition contribute to lower profit efficiency and higher costs for banks. The thesis indicates that the Vietnamese banking system is dominated by large banks and that the state-owned commercial banks (SOCBs) are more efficient than the joint stock commercial banks (JSCBs), mainly because of their competitive advantage in terms of size. Furthermore, Vietnamese banking efficiency at both branch and bank levels is significantly improved by high levels of capitalisation, larger size and a better labour force, while it is hampered by low loan quality. The findings also suggest that the northern banks in Vietnam are more efficient than the southern banks. The empirical evidence of the thesis is also focused on investigating the impact of financial liberalisation on bank technical efficiency and productivity growth, making use of a two-step approach consisting of DEA and Tobit panel data regressions. The analysis conducted across the different location groups (north and south) suggests that the impact on the technical efficiency of banks is more pronounced in the northern areas than in the southern areas. Furthermore, the Tobit estimation takes into account bank-specific differences in terms of total assets, the equity–total assets ratio, the labour–capital ratio and the provision–capital ratio; the evidence suggests that these influences are also mostly significant under financial liberalisation. As a result, the thesis suggests that financial liberalisation reinforces an independent impact on the technical efficiency of banks.