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Hidden gems and borrowers with dirty little secrets: investment in soft information, borrower self-selection and competition

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  • Gropp, Reint
  • Gruendl, Christian
  • Guettler, Andre

Abstract

This paper empirically examines the role of soft information in the competitive interaction between relationship and transaction banks. Soft information can be interpreted as a private signal about the quality of a firm that is observable to a relationship bank, but not to a transaction bank. We show that borrowers self-select to relationship banks depending on whether their privately observed soft information is positive or negative. Competition affects the investment in learning the private signal from firms by relationship banks and transaction banks asymmetrically. Relationship banks invest more; transaction banks invest less in soft information, exacerbating the selection effect. Finally, we show that firms where soft information was important in the lending decision were no more likely to default compared to firms where only financial information was used. JEL Classification: G21, G28, G32

Suggested Citation

  • Gropp, Reint & Gruendl, Christian & Guettler, Andre, 2013. "Hidden gems and borrowers with dirty little secrets: investment in soft information, borrower self-selection and competition," Working Paper Series 1555, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20131555
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    Cited by:

    1. Faure, Salomon & Gersbach, Hans, 2016. "Money Creation, Monetary Policy, and Capital Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Gersbach, Hans & Haller, Hans & Müller, Jürg, 2015. "The macroeconomics of Modigliani–Miller," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 1081-1113.
    3. Wiegand, Manuel, 2015. "Friendship and money, oil and water? Credit constraints and "Family and Friends" finance," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112965, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Faure, Salomon & Gersbach, Hans, 2016. "Money creation and destruction," CFS Working Paper Series 555, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    5. Mosk, T.C., 2014. "Essays on banking," Other publications TiSEM d424ec24-1bfd-4be0-b19a-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Andreas Hoepner & Ioannis Oikonomou & Bert Scholtens & Michael Schröder, 2016. "The Effects of Corporate and Country Sustainability Characteristics on The Cost of Debt: An International Investigation," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1-2), pages 158-190, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition; discretionary lending; relationship lending; soft information;

    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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