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Checking accounts and bank monitoring

  • Loretta J. Mester
  • Leonard I. Nakamura
  • Micheline Renault

Do checking accounts help banks monitor borrowers? If they do, the rationale both for allowing regulated providers of liquidity to also make risky loans to commercial borrowers and for the government's providing deposit insurance becomes clearer. Using a unique set of data that includes monthly and annual information on small-business borrowers at an anonymous Canadian bank, the authors provide evidence that a bank has exclusive access to a continuous stream of borrower data, namely, the firm's checking account balances at the bank, that helps it to monitor the borrower. ; To the authors' knowledge, this paper is the first direct empirical test of the usefulness of checking account information in monitoring commercial borrowers. The authors directly examine the mechanism through which a bank is able to gain an information advantage over other types of lenders and find evidence that checking account information is indeed relatively transparent for monitoring borrowers' collateral and that such monitoring is useful in detecting problems with loans. As such, the authors' data provide "smoking gun" evidence that banks are special.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 98-25.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:98-25
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  1. Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "On the profitability and cost of relationship lending," Working Papers 97-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Preece, Dianna & Mullineaux, Donald J., 1996. "Monitoring, loan renegotiability, and firm value: The role of lending syndicates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 577-593, April.
  3. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2001. "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation, and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 287-327, April.
  4. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
  5. Leonard I. Nakamura, 1993. "Recent research in commercial banking: information and lending," Working Papers 93-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Fama, Eugene F., 1985. "What's different about banks?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 29-39, January.
  7. Berlin, Mitchell & Mester, Loretta J, 1999. "Deposits and Relationship Lending," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 579-607.
  8. Anil Kashyap & Raghuram Rajan & Jeremy S. Stein, 1998. "Banks as liquidity providers: an explanation for the co-existence of lending and deposit-taking," Proceedings 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  10. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1995. "Relationship Lending and Lines of Credit in Small Firm Finance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(3), pages 351-81, July.
  11. Billett, Matthew T & Flannery, Mark J & Garfinkel, Jon A, 1995. " The Effect of Lender Identity on a Borrowing Firm's Equity Return," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 699-718, June.
  12. Black, Fischer, 1975. "Bank funds management in an efficient market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 323-339, December.
  13. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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