Heard some interesting questions raised at this seminar on Persuasive Merging of Financial Institutions yesterday. The symptoms that CBSL seem to be attempting to address seem to be two
a.[size=9.33333] [/size]The “noise” created by smaller firm failures in media, parliament and courts
b.[size=9.33333] [/size]Fragmented financial institutions.
But are they really a problem? Could you treat them as rationale for merging as claimed by CBSL? Are we missing something here in a mighty hurry to merge?
[size=9.33333] [/size]i.[size=9.33333] [/size]In foreign countries, consolidation was generally post crisis tool. This is especially the case with Malaysia after Asian Crisis. The fact that we are discussing consolidation is a tacit indication that we have a crisis in our hand?
[size=9.33333] [/size]ii.[size=9.33333] [/size]There seems to be an underlying assumption that bigger is better. But is it always the case? Can you consider all small Banks and NBFI as a "threat to the Financial system after 31st March 2014 or whatever the date? Are we killing innovation and entrepreneurship especially well run smaller firms?
[size=9.33333] [/size]iii.[size=9.33333] [/size]It is really cost effective to merge? How about the massive costs of IT systems which is already bought by all the financial institutions? Write them off to reduce “noise made by media” ? How much more costs do you need in IT to be ready for a merged entity? Are these costs really necessary? How about the branches in the same towns? How bears the costs of closing them down or resizing them? If status quo is to be maintained is there any purpose in the first place of merging?
[size=9.33333] [/size]iv.[size=9.33333] [/size]Is it the real sector should follow financial sector or financial sector should follow real sector? If we are going to maintain very great pace of economic growth, would that itself drive the balance sheets of the banks? Why do you need a regulatory push before we have real sector growth? Should you also ask industries to merge too? (Ane mage kata…sorry)
[size=9.33333] [/size]v.[size=9.33333] [/size]Creating oligopolies is a new way of increasing efficiency? (My phoooto, sorry lost professionalism there). May be there is a new economic theory of efficiency increasing oligopolies….(if its is so please don’t forget to apply for Nobel Prize in Economics) Or is it that CBSL is not allowing market to get rid of weaker players because it licensed them in the first place without thinking through?
[size=9.33333] [/size]vi.[size=9.33333] [/size]Do you want financial institution to Internationalization or localization or both? Can you do that at the same time?
I am not sure there were specific answers to all the questions raised. But without realizing the broader questions that define the parameters of the animal at our hand, it is difficult to know the tradeoffs and to make our choices…. That is what economics is about I was told as a student of economics………