Discussion paper

DP4543 The Impact of Competition on Bank Orientation and Specialization

How do banks react to increased competition? Recent banking theory offers conflicting predictions about the impact of competition on bank orientation - i.e., the choice of relationship based versus transactional banking - and bank industry specialization. We empirically investigate the impact of interbank competition on bank branch orientation and specialization. We employ a unique dataset containing detailed information on bank-firm relationships and industry classification. We find that bank branches facing stiff local competition engage considerably more in relationship-based lending and specialize somewhat less in a particular industry. Our results illustrate that competition and relationships are not necessarily inimical.


Degryse, H and S Ongena (2004), ‘DP4543 The Impact of Competition on Bank Orientation and Specialization‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4543. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp4543