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Why Do Banks Disappear: The Determinants of U.S. Bank Failures and Acquisitions

This paper examines the determinants of individual bank failures and acquisitions in the United States during 1984-1993. We use bank-specific information suggested by examiner CAMEL-rating categories to estimate competing-risks hazard models with time-varying covariates. We focus especially on the role of management quality, as reflected in alternative measures of x-efficiency and find the inefficiency increases the risk of failure, while reducing the probability of a bank's being acquired. Finally, we show that the closer to insolvency a bank is, as reflected by a low equity-to-assets ratio, the more likely its acquisition.

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