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The Design of Bank Loan Contracts, Collateral, and Renegotiation

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  • Gary Gorton
  • James A. Kahn

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that banks playa unique role in the savings-investment process, affecting firms' cost of capital and the level of investment. We argue that bank uniqueness is related to how the design of bank loan contracts allows banks to affect borrowers' choice of project risk. Unlike corporate bonds, bank loans are typically secured senior debt which contain embedded options allowing the bank to "call" the loan. The option allows the bank tv control borrowers' risk-taking activity via renegotiation of the loan. We analyze the renegotiation outcomes and show that: (1) debt forgiveness occurs; (2) monitoring by the bank is not always successful in preventing the borrower from increasing risk; (3) renegotiated interest rates are not monotonic in borrower type; (4) inefficient liquidation can occur. In renegotiation seniority and collateral are crucial because they allow the bank to threaten the borrower and liquidate inefficient projects. We show that when a prepayment option is included in the bank loan contract, bank debt is more valuable (ex ante) to borrowing firms than corporate debt; it lowers the cost of capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4273.

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Date of creation: Feb 1993
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Publication status: published as Gorton, G. and J. Kahn. "The Design Of Bank Loan Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, 2000, v13(2,Summer), 331-364.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4273

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Cited by:
  1. Maudos, Joaquin & Pérez, Francisco & Quesada, Javier, 2005. "Do banks discriminate sectoral real investment?," MPRA Paper 15868, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2005.
  2. de Jong, A., 2004. "It Takes Two To Tango: an empirical tale of distressed firms and assisting banks," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-049-F&A, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  3. Sanjay Banerji & Andrew Chen & Sumon Mazumdar, 2002. "Universal Banking Under Bilateral Information Asymmetry," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 169-187, December.
  4. Hind Sami, 2005. "Financial Distress and Reputational Concerns," Working Papers 0509, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  5. Asea, Patrick K. & Blomberg, Brock, 1998. "Lending cycles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 89-128.
  6. Steven Ongena, 1999. "Lending Relationships, Bank Default and Economic Activity," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 257-280.
  7. Preece, Dianna & Mullineaux, Donald J., 1996. "Monitoring, loan renegotiability, and firm value: The role of lending syndicates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 577-593, April.
  8. Birchler, Urs W, 2000. "Bankruptcy Priority for Bank Deposits: A Contract Theoretic Explanation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 813-40.
  9. Gorton, Gary & Schmid, Frank A., 2000. "Universal banking and the performance of German firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 29-80.
  10. Ingrid Groessl & Nadine Levratto, 2004. "Problems of Evaluating Small Firms’ Quality as a Reason for Unfavourable Loan Conditions," Finance 0406014, EconWPA.
  11. Andreas Dietrich, 2012. "Explaining loan rate differentials between small and large companies: evidence from Switzerland," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 481-494, May.
  12. Elsas, Ralf & Krahnen, Jan Pieter, 1998. "Is relationship lending special? Evidence from credit-file data in Germany," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/05, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  13. N. Berger, Allen & F. Udell, Gregory, 1998. "The economics of small business finance: The roles of private equity and debt markets in the financial growth cycle," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 613-673, August.
  14. Machauer, Achim & Weber, Martin, 1998. "Bank behavior based on internal credit ratings of borrowers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(10-11), pages 1355-1383, October.
  15. Carlos Arriaga & Luis Miranda, 2009. "Risk and Efficiency in Credit Concession: A Case Study in Portugal," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 7(3), pages 307-326.
  16. Couwenberg, Oscar & de Jong, Abe, 2006. "It takes two to tango: An empirical tale of distressed firms and assisting banks," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 429-454, December.

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