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Benefits of relationship banking: evidence from consumer credit markets

  • Sumit Agarwal
  • Souphala Chomsisengphet
  • Chunlin Liu
  • Nicholas S. Souleles

This paper empirically examines the benefits of relationship banking to banks, in the context of consumer credit markets. Using a unique panel dataset that contains comprehensive information about the relationships between a large bank and its credit card customers, we estimate the effects of relationship banking on the customers' default, attrition, and utilization behavior. We find that relationship accounts exhibit lower probabilities of default and attrition, and have higher utilization rates, compared to non-relationship accounts, ceteris paribus. Such effects become more pronounced with increases in various measures of the strength of the relationships, such as relationship breadth, depth, length, and proximity. Moreover, dynamic information about changes in the behavior of a customer’s other accounts at the bank, such as changes in checking and savings balances, helps predict and thus monitor the behavior of the credit card account over time. These results imply significant potential benefits of relationship banking to banks in the retail credit market.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-05.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-05
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  1. Loretta J. Mester & Leonard I. Nakamura & Micheline Renault, 2004. "Transactions accounts and loan monitoring," Working Papers 04-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Musto, David K. & Souleles, Nicholas S., 2006. "A portfolio view of consumer credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-84, January.
  3. Agarwal, Sumit & Ambrose, Brent W. & Liu, Chunlin, 2006. "Credit Lines and Credit Utilization," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 1-22, February.
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