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Is George Bailey Dead?

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Listed:
  • Jessica A. Holmes
  • Jonathan T. Isham
  • Paul M. Sommers

Abstract

As consolidation, deregulation, and technological advances transform the financial services industry, it is generally believed that community banks provide relationship-based banking services for small businesses, family farmers, and depositors of low to moderate wealth. Using data from actual loan applications to a rural community bank (not too dissimilar to It's A Wonderful Life's 'Bailey Building and Loan Company’ in Bedford Falls), the role of relationship lending in the market for home mortgages is examined for a financial institution with a long-perceived tradition of character lending. No evidence is found that prior account holders are given any advantage in the approval process for a home loan. Nearly all of the loan decisions are based on objective criteria such as personal wealth, debt obligations, and credit score. This has obvious implications for historically underserved consumers who are often rationed out of a credit market that allocates loan funds based solely on credit scoring techniques.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica A. Holmes & Jonathan T. Isham & Paul M. Sommers, 2007. "Is George Bailey Dead?," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 19-24, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apfelt:v:3:y:2007:i:1:p:19-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Keeton, William & Kahn, George A. & Schroeder, Linda & Weiner, Stuart E., 2003. "The role of community banks in the U.S. economy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 15-43.
    2. Jessica Holmes & Jonathan Isham & Jessica Wasilewski, 2005. "Overcoming Information Asymmetries in Low-Income Lending: Lessons from the “Working Wheels” Program," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 329-351, October.
    3. Robert DeYoung & William Hunter & Gregory Udell, 2004. "The Past, Present, and Probable Future for Community Banks," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 85-133, April.
    4. Orazio P. Attanasio & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2008. "Credit Constraints In The Market For Consumer Durables: Evidence From Micro Data On Car Loans," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 401-436, May.
    5. Jessica Holmes & Jonathan Isham & Ryan Petersen & Paul Sommers, 2005. "Does Relationship Lending Still Matter in the Consumer Banking Sector? Evidence from Two Financial Service Organizations in Vermont," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0511, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    6. Chakravarty, Sugato & Scott, James S, 1999. "Relationships and Rationing in Consumer Loans," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 523-544, October.
    7. Charles GRANT, 2003. "Estimating Credit Constraints among US Households," Economics Working Papers ECO2003/14, European University Institute.
    8. Jaffee, Dwight & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1990. "Credit rationing," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 837-888 Elsevier.
    9. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    10. Dwight M. Jaffee & Thomas Russell, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-666.
    11. Loretta J. Mester, 1999. "Banking industry's consolidation: what's a small business to do?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jan, pages 3-16.
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