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Price-increasing competition: the curious case of overdraft versus deferred deposit credit

  • Brian T. Melzer
  • Donald P. Morgan

We find that banks charge more for overdraft credit when depositors have access to a potential substitute: deferred deposit ("payday") credit. We attribute this rise in prices partly to adverse selection created by banks' practice of charging a flat fee regardless of the overdraft amount--pricing that favors depositors prone to large overdrafts. When deferred deposit credit priced per dollar borrowed is available, depositors prone to small overdrafts switch to that option. That selection works against banks; large overdrafts cost more to supply and, if depositors default, banks lose more, so prices rise. Consistent with this adverse-selection hypothesis, we document that the average dollar amount per returned check at banks and other depository institutions increases when depositors have access to deferred deposit credit. Beyond documenting another case of price-increasing competition, our findings bear on theories of adverse selection in credit markets and contribute to the debate over the pros and cons of payday credit.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 391.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:391
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  1. Yongmin Chen & Michael H. Riordan, 2008. "Price-increasing competition," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1042-1058.
  2. Robert DeYoung & Ronnie J. Phillips, 2009. "Payday loan pricing," Research Working Paper RWP 09-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  3. Donald P. Morgan & Michael R. Strain, 2007. "Payday holiday: how households fare after payday credit bans," Staff Reports 309, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Ward, Michael B. & Shimshack, Jay P. & Perloff, Jeffrey M. & Harris, J. Michael, 2002. "Effects of the private-label invasion in food industries," MPRA Paper 22186, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  6. Hannan, Timothy H., 2006. "Retail deposit fees and multimarket banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 2561-2578, September.
  7. repec:cdl:agrebk:5326 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  9. Marc Fusaro, 2008. "Hidden Consumer Loans: An Analysis of Implicit Interest Rates on Bounced Checks," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 251-263, June.
  10. Perloff, Jeffrey M. & Suslow, Valerie Y. & Seguin, Paul J., 1995. "Higher Prices from Entry: Pricing of Brand-Name Drugs," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt1ts674n2, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  11. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  12. Kwangwoo Park & George Pennacchi, 2007. "Harming depositors and helping borrowers: the disparate impact of bank consolidation," Working Paper 0704, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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