We show that country characteristics explain most of the cross-sectional variation in bank board independence. In contrast, country characteristics have little explanatory power for the fraction of outside bank directors with experience in the banking industry. Exploiting the time-series dimension of the sample, we show that changes in bank characteristics are not robustly associated with changes in board independence, while changes in board experience are positively related to changes in bank size and negatively related to changes in performance. The evidence suggests that country-specific laws and regulations affect the composition of boards of banks mainly through requirements for director independence.
Also included in AXA Working Paper Series No 6.