A new GLO Discussion Paper empirically examines the influence of fintech innovation on bank fragility for 690 banks across 34 Sub Saharan African countries confirming its destabilizing impact.
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GLO Discussion Paper No. 576, 2020
How does Fintech Innovation Matter for Bank Fragility in SSA? – Download PDF
by Nguena, Christian-Lambert
GLO Fellow Christian-Lambert Nguena
Author Abstract: There is a momentous debate on the role played by financial technology (fintech) innovation in the fragility of the banking sector. Considering the importance of financial solidness, contradictory theoretical predictions and empirical evidence, the in-depth re-investigation of this relation is needed. Using data of 690 banks across 34 Sub Saharan African countries for the period 1999-2015 along with FGLS, GMM, Panel Threshold regression and PCA econometric method, this paper empirically examines the influence of fintech innovation on bank fragility. Mainly the destabilizing impact of fintech innovation is confirmed for our baseline investigation but later relativized with a stabilizing impact after a certain threshold. Moreover, the results highlight also that the macroeconomic environment is important in explaining bank fragility and suggested that public policy should take into account some specific destabilizing consequences on the banking system. Besides, the simultaneous hypothesis test of the innovation fragility nexus conditional to some relevant variables reveals that financial openness does matter while investment, commercial openness and monetary policy do not. Lastly, the comparative analysis validates our heterogeneity hypothesis; countries with the high size banking sector, colonialized by France and members of monetary union performs better than the others in terms of bank solidness. These results indicate that suitable fintech innovation policy even between the same regions could be rather different. Financial instability appeared also to increase bank fragility. This paper contributes to the limited literature on fintech innovation at both the macro and micro levels in sub-Saharan Africa.
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