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Laying off credit risk: Loan sales versus credit default swaps


  • Parlour, Christine A.
  • Winton, Andrew


How do markets for debt cash flow rights, with and without accompanying control rights, affect the efficiency of lending? A bank makes a loan, learns if it needs monitoring, and then decides whether to lay off credit risk. The bank can transfer credit risk by either selling the loan or buying a credit default swap (CDS). With a CDS, the originating bank retains the loan's control rights; with loan sales, control rights pass to the loan buyer. Credit risk transfer leads to excessive monitoring of riskier credits and insufficient monitoring of safer credits. Increases in banks' cost of equity capital exacerbate these effects. For riskier credits, loan sales typically dominate CDS but not for safer credits. Once repeated lending and consequent reputation concerns are modeled, although CDSs remain dominated by loan sales for riskier credits, for safer credits they can dominate loan sales, supporting better monitoring (albeit to a limited extent) while allowing efficient risk sharing. Restrictions on the bank's ability to sell the loan expand the range in which CDSs are used and monitoring is too low.

Suggested Citation

  • Parlour, Christine A. & Winton, Andrew, 2013. "Laying off credit risk: Loan sales versus credit default swaps," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 25-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:107:y:2013:i:1:p:25-45 DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.08.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephens, Eric & Thompson, James R., 2014. "CDS as insurance: Leaky lifeboats in stormy seas," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 279-299.
    2. repec:eee:jfinec:v:124:y:2017:i:2:p:395-414 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Iñaki Aldasoro & Andreas Barth, 2017. "Syndicated loans and CDS positioning," ESRB Working Paper Series 58, European Systemic Risk Board.
    4. Martin, Xiumin & Roychowdhury, Sugata, 2015. "Do financial market developments influence accounting practices? Credit default swaps and borrowers׳ reporting conservatism," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 80-104.
    5. repec:eee:finmar:v:36:y:2017:i:c:p:91-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Wu, Deming, 2015. "The effects of government capital and liquidity support programs on bank lending: Evidence from the syndicated corporate credit market," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 13-25.
    7. Augustin, Patrick & Subrahmanyam, Marti G. & Tang, Dragon Yongjun & Wang, Sarah Qian, 2014. "Credit Default Swaps: A Survey," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 9(1-2), pages 1-196, December.
    8. Oehmke, Martin & Zawadowski, Adam, 2015. "Synthetic or real? The equilibrium effects of credit default swaps on bond markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84511, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Irani, Rustom M. & Meisenzahl, Ralf R., 2015. "Loan Sales and Bank Liquidity Risk Management: Evidence from a U.S. Credit Register," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Beyhaghi, Mehdi & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony, 2017. "Why and how do banks lay off credit risk? The choice between retention, loan sales and credit default swaps," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 335-355.
    11. Bouwman, Christa H. S., 2013. "Liquidity: How Banks Create It and How It Should Be Regulated," Working Papers 13-32, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    12. Beck, Thorsten & Carletti, Elena & Goldstein, Itay, 2016. "Financial Regulation in Europe: Foundations and Challenges," CEPR Discussion Papers 11147, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. repec:fip:fedgfe:2014-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:kap:rqfnac:v:50:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11156-017-0639-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Marti G. Subrahmanyam & Dragon Yongjun Tang & Sarah Qian Wang, 2016. "Credit Default Swaps, Exacting Creditors and Corporate Liquidity Management," Working Papers 202016, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    16. Hasan, Iftekhar & Wu, Deming, 2016. "Credit default swaps and bank loan sales: evidence from bank syndicated lending," Research Discussion Papers 9/2016, Bank of Finland.
    17. Daniel Streitz, 2015. "The Impact of Credit Default Swap Trading on Loan Syndication," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-012, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item


    Control rights; Loan sales; Credit default swaps; Credit risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill


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