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Credit crunch? An empirical test of cyclical credit policy

  • Herrala, Risto

    ()

    (Bank of Finland Research)

In this paper we test the hypothesis that credit policies are pro-cyclical. Our approach is based on a stochastic frontier analysis of borrower data, as in Chen and Wang (2008). We extend the applicability of the approach, and propose a novel test specification which is informative of many types of pro-cyclicality. The analysis of representative samples of household borrowers during a huge cycle and its aftermath yields evidence of time-varying credit policy. We find that the focus of credit policy changed from collateral to current income during the cycle. Instead of a credit crunch, ie, an overall tightening of credit during the economic and financial contraction, we find a tightening of credit limits with respect to a minority of borrowers and an easing for the majority. In the course of the post-crisis period, credit policy became more lenient. Both the level of credit limits and the ‘tailoring’ of limits to group-specific characteristics of households increased. A reduction in the idiosyncratic variance of limits suggest that banks have become more consistent in their credit policies.

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File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/0910netti.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 10/2009.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 24 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2009_010
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/

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  1. Goodfriend, Marvin & McCallum, Bennett T., 2007. "Banking and interest rates in monetary policy analysis: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1480-1507, July.
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
  3. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2008. "Is the 2007 US Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison," Scholarly Articles 11129156, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. "Why Bank Credit Policies Fluctuate: A Theory and Some Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 399-441, May.
  5. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Robert Marquez, 2006. "Lending Booms and Lending Standards," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(5), pages 2511-2546, October.
  6. Honkapohja, Seppo, 2009. "The 1990’s financial crises in Nordic countries," Research Discussion Papers 5/2009, Bank of Finland.
  7. Herrala, Risto & Kauko, Karlo, 2007. "Household loan loss risk in Finland – estimations and simulations with micro data," Research Discussion Papers 5/2007, Bank of Finland.
  8. Berger, Allen N. & Udell, Gregory F., 2004. "The institutional memory hypothesis and the procyclicality of bank lending behavior," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 458-495, October.
  9. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Credit Traps and Credit Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 503-516, March.
  10. Martin Ruckes, 2004. "Bank Competition and Credit Standards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 1073-1102.
  11. Stefano NERI & Luca SESSA & Federico SIGNORETTI & Andrea GERALI, 2009. "Credit and Banking in a DSGE model," 2009 Meeting Papers 586, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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