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Determinants of capital structure of banks: evidence from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Shoaib Khan (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Ha’il, Hail, Saudi Arabia)
Usman Bashir (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Ha’il, Hail, Saudi Arabia)
Md. Saiful Islam (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Ha’il, Hail, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management

ISSN: 1753-8394

Article publication date: 5 November 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the most important factors that affect the capital structure of commercial banks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses annual data of 11 Saudi commercial, national banks listed on the tadawul Saudi stock exchange for the period 2010–2017. Data was collected from the banks financial statements, tadawul annual publications and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. By constructing a balanced panel, this study uses pooled ordinary least squares regression along with fixed effects and random effects to examine the relationship between the bank’s book leverage as the dependent variable and bank-specific explanatory variables that include profitability, tangibility, earnings volatility, growth opportunities and bank size, while controlling for macroeconomic conditions.

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that banks in Saudi Arabia are highly leveraged, endorsing the fact that the nature of banks’ business is different from non-banking firms. Earnings volatility, growth and bank size show positive and significant relations with book leverage. Profitability and tangibility are negatively related to the book leverage. Empirically, the explanatory variables profitability, earnings volatility, tangibility, growth and bank size have material effects on the capital structure decisions of Saudi commercial banks. In summary, the determinants of capital structure for Saudi banks are the same as those of non-financial firms but are distinctive in nature.

Research limitations/implications

An extensive study on all the banks operating in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is suggested.

Practical implications

The findings have practical implications for bank managers, which will help them to identify the bank-specific factors affecting the capital structure and choose the values enhancing optimal capital structure. The results of this study can assist regulatory agencies to formulate an effective regulatory framework. Moreover, the findings lay a foundation for the development of financial sector under the umbrella of the Vision 2030 program in the Kingdom.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to explore the factors affecting the capital structure choices of commercial banks operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the findings of the study would prove useful in detailed studies of capital structure in the GCC countries as well.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Shoaib Khan and Usman Bashir would like to thank University of Ha’il for financial support. This research has been funded by Scientific Research Deanship at University of Ha’il – Saudi Arabia through project number RG-20 103.

Citation

Khan, S., Bashir, U. and Islam, M.S. (2021), "Determinants of capital structure of banks: evidence from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 268-285. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMEFM-04-2019-0135

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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