The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between capital adequacy and the bank profitability measured by returns on equity (ROE) for Tanzanian large commercial banks during the period between 2009 and 2014. The positive relationship between bank capital and performance may also be explained using monitoring-based theory. The monitoring-based theory suggests that higher bank capitals encourage serious scrutiny and monitoring of borrowers to avoid default risk. The monitoring of borrowers indirectly improves the probability of bank’s survival by eventually increasing surplus generated through the healthier relationship between borrowers and banks, hence, bank performance Furthermore, the study found a significantly positive relationship between bank size and bank returns on equity. This is consistent with a familiar explanation that larger banks accumulate large assets which generate relatively more income and eventually increases the bank’s profitability. The study also reveals a negative and significant relationship between non-performing loans and bank profitability. This relationship shows that accumulation of Non-Performing Loans invites vulnerability to default risk which consequently causes banks’ failure to sustain or increase their investment efficiency. Similarly, lower NPLs are associated with drop in deposits rate which eventually impacts on banks’ operations and profitability. Consequently, the study recommends the banks’ capital regulation to be anchored on a sound system of bank monitoring and the Bank of Tanzania should swiftly and strictly enforce the compliance of the bank capital requirements and review the minimum capital requirement of deposit money regularly so as to maintain the optimal capital level in an attempt to improving bank profits level. The study also encourages bank capitalization to improve performance. More specifically, banks are encouraged to have a habit of retaining more earnings instead of distributing such large sums as bonuses in order to increase the banks’ capital base.
Key words: Capital regulation, performance, returns on equity.
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