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Bank Lines of Credit in Corporate Finance: An Empirical Analysis

  • Amir Sufi

I empirically examine the factors that determine whether firms use bank lines of credit or cash in corporate liquidity management. I find that bank lines of credit, also known as revolving credit facilities, are a viable liquidity substitute only for firms that maintain high cash flow. In contrast, firms with low cash flow are less likely to obtain a line of credit, and they rely more heavily on cash in their corporate liquidity management. An important channel for this correlation is the use of cash flow-based financial covenants by banks that supply credit lines. I find that firms must maintain high cash flow to remain compliant with covenants, and banks restrict firm access to credit facilities in response to covenant violations. Using the cash-flow sensitivity of cash as a measure of financial constraints, I provide evidence that lack of access to a line of credit is a more statistically powerful measure of financial constraints than traditional measures used in the literature. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 1057-1088

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:3:p:1057-1088
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