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Loan commitments and private firms

  • Sumit Agarwal
  • Souphala Chomsisengphet
  • John C. Driscoll

Bank lending is an important source of funding for firms. Most loans are in the form of credit lines. Empirical studies of line demand have been complicated by their use of data on publicly traded firms, which have a wide menu of financing options. We avoid this problem by using a unique proprietary data set from a large financial institution of loan commitments made to 712 privately-held firms. We test Martin and Santomero's (1997) model, in which lines give firms the speed and flexibility to pursue investment opportunities. Our findings are consistent with their predictions. Firms facing higher rates and fees have smaller credit lines. Firms with higher growth commit to larger lines of credit and have a higher rate of line utilization. Firms experiencing more uncertainty in their funding needs commit to smaller credit lines. Almost all firms convert unused credit line portions into spot loans and take out new lines.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2004-27.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-27
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  17. Shockley, Richard L & Thakor, Anjan V, 1997. "Bank Loan Commitment Contracts: Data, Theory, and Tests," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 517-34, November.
  18. Berkovitch, Elazar & Greenbaum, Stuart I., 1991. "The Loan Commitment as an Optimal Financing Contract," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 83-95, March.
  19. Fama, Eugene F., 1985. "What's different about banks?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 29-39, January.
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  23. Blackwell, Norman R. & Santomero, Anthony M., 1982. "Bank credit rationing and the customer relation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 121-129.
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  26. Melnik, Arie & Plaut, Steven E., 1986. "The economics of loan commitment contracts: Credit pricing and utilization," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 267-280, June.
  27. Boot, Arnoud W. A. & Thakor, Anjan V. & Udell, Gregory F., 1991. "Credible commitments, contract enforcement problems and banks: Intermediation as credibility assurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 605-632, June.
  28. Hawkins, Gregory D., 1982. "An analysis of revolving credit agreements," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 59-81, March.
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