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Keywords: profitability indicators , banking systems , financial instability , regulation , stress test scenario

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Bank performance measurement, as an expression of banks’ ability to generate sustainable profits, is a topic of major interest, located in the core of all categories of participants involved in the banking business: banking supervisory authorities, rating agencies, shareholders, investors and analysts of banking activity. Recent developments in bank profitability during the global financial crisis have highlighted a number of limitations of traditional banking performance measurement indicators, in respect of their capacity to provide relevant, credible and genuine information related to credit institutions’ activity. In this article we intend to argue, by investigations at conceptual and quantitative level, the extent to which traditional indicators of bank profitability provide a comprehensive and real insight into the credit institutions’ financial performance. The empirical study applies the stress test methodology, through which is assessed the extent to which Romanian banking system‘s performance, represented by ROE, changes in the context of defining adverse, but plausible scenarios. Hence, it had been simulated ROE’s degree of response for three types of scenarios. We have applied both univariate stress tests (sensitivity analysis) in order to isolate the potential impact of each risk factor on bank profitability, and multivariate stress tests, which allow the simultaneous application of multiple shocks on risk factors. The results show the most important risk factors that adversely affect banking system’s profitability and the concrete value by which profitability is expected to decrease for each scenario analyzed.


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