IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The commitment problem of secured lending


  • Fabbri, Daniela
  • Menichini, Anna Maria C.


The paper presents a new theory of trade credit in which firms buy inputs on credit from suppliers to restore the benefits of secured bank financing impaired by contract incompleteness. In a setting where investment is endogenous and unobservable to financiers, we show that a bank-secured credit contract is time-inconsistent. Upon being granted credit, the entrepreneur has an incentive to alter the original input combination, jeopardizing the bank’s revenues. Anticipating the entrepreneur’s opportunism, the bank offers an unsecured credit contract, reducing the surplus from the venture. One way for the entrepreneur to commit to the contract terms is to purchase inputs on credit from the supplier. The supplier observes the input investment and acts as a guarantor that inputs will be purchased as contracted, thus facilitating access to secured bank financing. The commitment role of trade credit still holds in a multi-period extension that investigates the impact of bank relationship lending on secured debt and trade credit. Our model provides novel testable predictions on optimal financial contracts in both one-period and repeated lending relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabbri, Daniela & Menichini, Anna Maria C., 2016. "The commitment problem of secured lending," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 561-584.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:120:y:2016:i:3:p:561-584 DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.02.009

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
    2. Nicholas Wilson & Barbara Summers, 2002. "Trade Credit Terms Offered by Small Firms: Survey Evidence and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3&4), pages 317-351.
    3. Fabbri, Daniela & Menichini, Anna Maria C., 2010. "Trade credit, collateral liquidation, and borrowing constraints," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 413-432, June.
    4. Efraim Benmelech, 2009. "Asset Salability and Debt Maturity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century American Railroads," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1545-1584, April.
    5. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. " Collateral and Competitive Equilibria with Moral Hazard and Private Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-363, June.
    6. Brennan, Michael J & Maksimovic, Vojislav & Zechner, Josef, 1988. " Vendor Financing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1127-1141, December.
    7. J. Stephen Ferris, 1981. "A Transactions Theory of Trade Credit Use," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 243-270.
    8. Chee K. Ng & Janet Kiholm Smith & Richard L. Smith, 1999. "Evidence on the Determinants of Credit Terms Used in Interfirm Trade," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 1109-1129, June.
    9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
    10. Cook, Lisa D., 1999. "Trade credit and bank finance: Financing small firms in russia," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 14(5-6), pages 493-518.
    11. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Kanatas, George, 1985. "Asymmetric Valuations and the Role of Collateral in Loan Agreements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 17(1), pages 84-95, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Collateral; Commitment; Trade credit; Bank financing;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:120:y:2016:i:3:p:561-584. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.