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Collateral, Default Risk, and Relationship Lending: An Empirical Study on Financial Contracting

  • Krahnen, Jan Pieter

This paper provides new insights into the nature of relationship lending by analysing the role of collateral and its real effects with respect to workout activities. We use a unique data set based on the credit files of five leading German banks, thus relying on real information used in the process of bank credit decision-making. In particular, risk assessment is derived from bank internal borrower ratings, and a new proxy for identifying relationship lending is used. Furthermore, our data set contains information on banks workout activities relating to borrowers facing financial distress. We find no significant correlation between borrower quality and the incidence of collateralization, or the degree thereof. Our results indicate that the use of collateral in loan contracts is mainly driven by aspects of relationship lending and renegotiation risk. Relationship lenders do require more collateral from their debtors than normal lenders for two main reasons. First, collateral locks the borrower into the relationship. Second, it strengthens the bank’s bargaining power in future renegotiations. This interpretation is strongly supported by our analysis of bank behaviour when borrowers face financial distress. We find that workout activities for distressed borrowers are positively related to both the housebank status and the degree of collateralization.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2540.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2540
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  17. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
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  20. Rajan, Raghuram & Winton, Andrew, 1995. " Covenants and Collateral as Incentives to Monitor," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1113-46, September.
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  22. Brunner, Antje & Pieter, Jan & Weber, Martin, 2000. "Information production in credit relationship: On the role of internal ratings in commercial banking," CFS Working Paper Series 2000/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  23. Welch, Ivo, 1997. "Why Is Bank Debt Senior? A Theory of Asymmetry and Claim Priority Based on Influence Costs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(4), pages 1203-36.
  24. Elsas, Ralf & Henke, Sabine & Machauer, Achim & Rott, Roland & Schenk, Gerald, 1998. "Empirical analysis of credit relationships in small firms financing: Sampling design and descriptive statistics," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  25. 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.
  26. Besanko, David & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. "Collateral and Rationing: Sorting Equilibria in Monopolistic and Competitive Credit Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 671-89, October.
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