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Rules versus discretion in loan rate setting

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  • Cerqueiro, Geraldo
  • Degryse, Hans
  • Ongena, Steven

Abstract

Loan rates for seemingly identical borrowers often exhibit substantial dispersion. This paper investigates the determinants of the dispersion in interest rates on loans granted by banks to small and medium sized enterprises. We associate this dispersion with the loan officers' use of "discretion" in the loan rate setting process. We find that "discretion" is most important if: (i) loans are small and unsecured; (ii) firms are small and opaque; (iii) the firm operates in a large and highly concentrated banking market; and (iv) the firm is distantly located from the lender. Consistent with the proliferation of information-technologies in the banking industry, we find a decreasing role for "discretion" over time in the provision of small credits to opaque firms. While widely used in the pricing of loans, "discretion" plays only a minor role in the decisions to grant loans.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 20 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 503-529

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:20:y:2011:i:4:p:503-529

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

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Keywords: Financial intermediation Loan rates Price discrimination Heteroscedastic regression;

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  2. Buch, Claudia M. & Döpke, Jörg & Stahn, Kerstin, 2008. "Great moderation at the firm level? Unconditional versus conditional output volatility," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,13, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  3. Gropp, Reint & Gruendl, Christian & Guettler, Andre, 2013. "Hidden gems and borrowers with dirty little secrets: investment in soft information, borrower self-selection and competition," Working Paper Series 1555, European Central Bank.
  4. Jens Grunert & Lars Norden, 2012. "Bargaining power and information in SME lending," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 401-417, September.
  5. Martin Brown & Matthias Schaller & Simone Westerfeld & Markus Heusler, 2012. "Information or Insurance? On the Role of Loan Officer Discretion in Credit Assessment," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 67, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  6. Kim, Moshe & Surroca, Jordi & Tribó, Josep A., 2014. "Impact of ethical behavior on syndicated loan rates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 122-144.
  7. Gropp, R. & Grundl, C. & Guttler, A., 2012. "Does Discretion in Lending Increase Bank Risk? Borrower Self-Selection and Loan Officer Capture Effects," Discussion Paper 2012-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Sumit Agarwal & Itzhak Ben-David, 2014. "Do Loan Officers’ Incentives Lead to Lax Lending Standards?," NBER Working Papers 19945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Iannotta, Giuliano & Nocera, Giacomo & Resti, Andrea, 2013. "Do investors care about credit ratings? An analysis through the cycle," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 545-555.
  10. Degryse, H.A. & Cerqueiro, G.M. & Ongena, S., 2007. "Distance, Bank Organizational Structure and Credit," Discussion Paper 2007-018, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  11. Chang, C. & Liao, G. & Yu, X. & Ni, Z., 2009. "Information from Relationship Lending: Evidence from China," Discussion Paper 2009-39 S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Elmas Yaldiz Hanedar & Eleonora Broccardo & Flavio Bazzana, 2012. "Collateral Requirements of SMEs:The Evidence from Less–Developed Countries," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 12111, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Facoltà di Economia "Marco Biagi".
  13. Bellucci, Andrea & Borisov, Alexander & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2013. "Do banks price discriminate spatially? Evidence from small business lending in local credit markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4183-4197.
  14. Diana Bonfim & Qinglei Dai & Francesco Franco, 2009. "The Number of Bank Relationships, Borrowing Costs and Bank Competition," Working Papers w200912, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  15. Claudia M. Buch & Martin Schlotter, 2008. "Regional Origins of Employment Volatility: Evidence from German States," CESifo Working Paper Series 2296, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Fantazzini, Dean & DeGiuli, Maria Elena & Figini, Silvia & Giudici, Paolo, 2009. "Enhanced credit default models for heterogeneous SME segments," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 25, pages 31-39.
  17. Simon Cornée, 2014. "Soft Information and Default Prediction in Cooperative and Social Banks," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201402, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  18. L. Baele & V. De Bruyckere & O. De Jonghe & R. Vander Vennet, 2012. "Do Stock Markets Discipline US Bank Holding Companies: Just Monitoring, or also In?uencing?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/827, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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