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Corporate governance, European bank performance and the financial crisis

Mohamed A. Ayadi (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)
Nesrine Ayadi (University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Samir Trabelsi (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 3 January 2019

Issue publication date: 20 May 2019




This paper aims to analyze the effects of internal and external governance mechanisms on the performance and risk taking of banks from the Euro zone before and after the 2008 financial crisis.


To avoid macroeconomic problems and shocks and because of data availability, the authors select some countries of the Euro zone, namely, France, Belgium, Germany and Finland, during the 2004-2009 period. These countries share similar macroeconomic environments (unemployment, inflation and economic growth rates). All the data relating to the banks are manually drawn from the supervising reports submitted to banks and are available on the banks’ websites and/or on that of the AMF website. The banks included in our sample are drawn from the list of European central banks on


The empirical results show that banks undertake tradeoffs between different governance mechanisms to alleviate the intensity of the agency conflicts between the shareholders and managers. The findings also confirm that internal mechanisms and capital regulations are complementary and significantly impact bank performance.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis can be extended through studying the interaction between bondholders’ governance and shareholders’ governance and their impact on the 2008 financial crisis.

Practical implications

The changes in banking governance help banks find a useful and necessary way to avoid ill-considered risks that can cause a systemic risk. Therefore, some conditions should be met so that banking governance can contribute to the economic development.

Social implications

Culture and mentality of good banking governance must grow as much as possible through awareness-raising, training, promotion, recognition of performance, enhancing procedure transparency and stability of good banking governance and regulations, strengthening the national capacity to fight against corruption, and preventive mechanisms.


This paper complements previous studies, mainly those of Andres and Vallelado (2008) who examine the impact of the components of the board on banking performance and of Laeven and Levine (2009) who estimate the combined effect of regulatory and ownership structure on the risk-taking of each bank.



The authors would like to thank Skander Lazrak and Robert Welch for their helpful comments.


Ayadi, M.A., Ayadi, N. and Trabelsi, S. (2019), "Corporate governance, European bank performance and the financial crisis", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 338-371.



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