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Small business loan turndowns, personal wealth and discrimination

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  • Ken Cavalluzzo
  • John D. Wolken

Abstract

Using newly available data from the Federal Reserve, we examine the impact of personal wealth on small business loan turndowns across demographic groups. Information on home ownership, home equity, and personal net worth excluding the business owner's home, in combination with data on the personal credit history of the principal owner, the business credit history of the firm, a rich set of additional explanatory variables, and information on the competitiveness of local banking markets, contributes to our understanding of the credit market experiences of small businesses across demographic groups. We find substantial unexplained differences in denial rates between African American-, Hispanic-, Asian-, and white-owned firms. We also find that greater personal wealth is associated with a lower probability of loan denial. However, even after controlling for personal wealth, large differences in denial rates across demographic groups remain. Further, consistent with Becker's classic theories (1957), we find some evidence that African American-denial rates increase with lender market concentration.

Suggested Citation

  • Ken Cavalluzzo & John D. Wolken, 2002. "Small business loan turndowns, personal wealth and discrimination," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2002-35
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Small business; Discrimination in mortgage loans;

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