During the recent financial crisis, bank profitability has become an element of strong concern for regulators and policymakers; in fact both self-financing strategies and capital increases – necessary to provide higher level of capitalization – rely on the ability of a bank to generate profits. However, the determinants of bank profitability, that seemed to be unequivocally identified by previous literature, appear to have changed under the effect of regulatory and competitive dynamics. We test this hypothesis on commercial, cooperative and saving banks, employing a random effect panel regression on a dataset comprising bank-level data and macroeconomic information (covering the period 2006-2013) for 9 countries of the Euro area. Our findings suggest that, after a period of “irrational exuberance” in which credit growth and high leverage were seen as proper and fast ways to boost profitability, a sound financial structure and a wiser and objective credit portfolio management have become the main drivers to ensure higher returns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Bank profitability
  • Euro Area
  • Financial Crisis


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