Spatial Aspect in Bank Branch Performance Management
In spite of the fact that both profitability and technical efficiency of bank branches are greatly influenced by the local environment in which they are located and operate, local environmental factors are scarcely incorporated in performance assessments undertaken by banks themselves. The paper stresses that localization of bank branches (i.e. their spatial aspect standing for all local socio-economic environmental influences) is a significant factor that should be part of their performance assessment and demonstrates this for a commercial bank that runs a large retail branch network all over Slovakia. Through a case study of this Slovak bank, the paper aims to highlight the importance of the spatial aspect in explaining efficiency and economic results of bank branches, and to sketch a set of analytical procedures that may be adopted by commercial banks in internal performance assessment. Insights of geostatistics are employed in investigating the relationship between technical efficiency and profitability exhibited by the bank's branches and studying how this relationship is affected by the spatial aspect. Whereas technical efficiency stands for the voluminal dimension of a branch's performance, the profitability captures the monetary effects of the achieved performance position of a branch. It is found that there is a close link between technical efficiency and profitability of the bank's branches, and it is shown how this finding is relevant for bank branch performance management. A practical outcome of the analysis is that technical efficiency is a very appropriate indicator for assessing managerial skills at a branch level and may be safely incorporated as an input to an internal rating system of branch performance. Technical efficiency scores may thus be utilized as a means of monetary stimulation of the best performing branches or in developing corrective policy strategies to manage the worst performing ones. Nonetheless, what is required is that the spatial aspect is sufficiently appreciated.