Asian Journal of Economics and Banking, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.Abstract Purpose: The Asian banking system has been appreciated with many distinct qualities including consistent in profitability. Many studies have examined the profitability of Asian banking sector from diverse perspectives. However, studies on bank profitability in connection to the capital structure, operating efficiency and non-interest income are only a few. This study investigates the influence of capital structure as estimated by leverage ratio and long-term debt, operating efficiency and non-interest income on the profitability of the banking industry in 28 countries of Asia. Design/methodology/approach: This paper utilizes fixed effect regression model by involving panel data with sample of 492 banks from 28 countries of Asia for the time span of 15 years from 2004 to 2018. Findings: The results confirm that an increase in total debt ratio increases the profit margin of the bank as supported by the agency cost theory, suggesting that the debt financing increases the profitability of the firm. In addition, the findings reveal that lowering the operating expenses and managing of costs effectively can boost the profitability of bank. Furthermore, non-interest income plays a vital role when the interest rates are lower. Hence the study suggests that a careful investment in this sector can generate income as well as increase the profit margin of the banking arena. Originality/value: The paper examines the profitability of bank by including impact of leverage ratio and long-term debt as a measure of capital structure along with the influence of operational efficiency and non-interest income which contributes to the understanding of the existing literature.
Keywords: Capital structure, Operating efficiency, Non-interest income, Asia.