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Credit Lines as Monitored Liquidity Insurance: Theory and Evidence

  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Heitor Almeida
  • Filippo Ippolito
  • Ander Perez

We propose and test a theory of corporate liquidity management in which credit lines provided by banks to firms are a form of monitored liquidity insurance. Bank monitoring and resulting credit line revocations help control illiquidity-seeking behavior by firms. Firms with high liquidity risk are likely to use cash rather than credit lines for liquidity management because the cost of monitored liquidity insurance increases with liquidity risk. We exploit a quasi-experiment around the downgrade of General Motors (GM) and Ford in 2005 and find that firms that experienced an exogenous increase in liquidity risk (specifically, firms that relied on bonds for financing in the pre-downgrade period) moved out of credit lines and into cash holdings in the aftermath of the downgrade. We observe a similar effect for firms whose ability to raise equity financing is compromised by pricing pressure caused by mutual fund redemptions. Finally, we find support for the model's other novel empirical implication that firms with low hedging needs (high correlation between cash flows and investment opportunities) are more likely to use credit lines relative to cash, and are also less likely to face covenants and revocations when using credit lines.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18892.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18892
Note: CF
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  1. 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.
  2. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2002. "Corporate Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bates, Thomas W. & Kahle, Kathleen M. & Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash Than They Used To?," Working Paper Series 2006-17, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  7. Ran Duchin, 2010. "Cash Holdings and Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(3), pages 955-992, 06.
  8. Cem Demiroglu & Christopher M. James, 2007. "The information content of bank loan covenants," Proceedings 1051, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Steven Drucker & Manju Puri, 2009. "On Loan Sales, Loan Contracting, and Lending Relationships," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2635-2672, July.
  10. Viral V. Acharya & Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello, 2005. "Is Cash Negative Debt? A Hedging Perspective on Corporate Financial Policies," NBER Working Papers 11391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Evan Gatev & Til Schuermann & Philip E. Strahan, 2009. "Managing Bank Liquidity Risk: How Deposit-Loan Synergies Vary with Market Conditions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 995-1020, March.
  12. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, 08.
  13. Amir Sufi, 2009. "Bank Lines of Credit in Corporate Finance: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 1057-1088, March.
  14. Evan Gatev & Philip E. Strahan, 2006. "Banks' Advantage in Hedging Liquidity Risk: Theory and Evidence from the Commercial Paper Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 867-892, 04.
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