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The institutional memory hypothesis and the procyclicality of bank lending behavior

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  • Berger, Allen N.
  • Udell, Gregory F.

Abstract

Stylized facts suggest that bank lending behavior is highly procyclical. We offer a new hypothesis that may help explain why this occurs. The institutional memory hypothesis is driven by deterioration in the ability of loan officers over the bank's lending cycle that results in an easing of credit standards. This easing of standards may be compounded by simultaneous deterioration in the capacity of bank management to discipline its loan officers and reduction in the capacities of external stakeholders to discipline bank management. We test the empirical implications of this hypothesis using data from individual U.S. banks over the period 1980-2000. We employ over 200,000 observations on commercial loan growth measured at the bank level, over 2,000,000 observations on interest rate premiums on individual loans, and over 2,000 observations on credit standards and bank-level loan spreads from bank management survey responses. The empirical analysis provides support for the hypothesis.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Intermediation.

Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 458-495

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:13:y:2004:i:4:p:458-495

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622875

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  1. Dell''Ariccia, Giovanni & Marquez, Robert, 2005. "Lending Booms and Lending Standards," CEPR Discussion Papers 5095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Ayuso, Juan & Perez, Daniel & Saurina, Jesus, 2004. "Are capital buffers pro-cyclical?: Evidence from Spanish panel data," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 249-264, April.
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  12. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1994. "Do Risk-Based Capital Allocate Bank Credit and Cause a "Credit Crunch"' in the United States?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(3), pages 585-628, August.
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  17. Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "A Memory-Based Model Of Bounded Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 735-774, August.
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  21. Einarsson, Tor & Marquis, Milton H, 2001. "Bank Intermediation over the Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 876-99, November.
  22. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1992. "Some Evidence on the Empirical Significance of Credit Rationing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 1047-77, October.
  23. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
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