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Loan officer Incentives and the Limits of Hard Information

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  • Tobias Berg
  • Manju Puri
  • Jorg Rocholl

Abstract

Poor loan quality is often attributed to loan officers exercising poor judgment. A potential solution is to base loans on hard information alone. However, we find other consequences of bypassing discretion stemming from loan officer incentives and limits of hard information verifiability. Using unique data where loans are based on hard information, and loan officers are volume-incentivized, we find loan officers increasingly use multiple trials to move loans over the cut-off, both in a regression-discontinuity design and when the cut-off changes. Additional trials positively predict default suggesting strategic manipulation of information even when loans are based on hard information alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Berg & Manju Puri & Jorg Rocholl, 2013. "Loan officer Incentives and the Limits of Hard Information," NBER Working Papers 19051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19051
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shawn Cole & Martin Kanz & Leora Klapper, 2015. "Incentivizing Calculated Risk-Taking: Evidence from an Experiment with Commercial Bank Loan Officers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(2), pages 537-575, April.
    2. Berger, Allen N. & Miller, Nathan H. & Petersen, Mitchell A. & Rajan, Raghuram G. & Stein, Jeremy C., 2005. "Does function follow organizational form? Evidence from the lending practices of large and small banks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 237-269, May.
    3. Puri, Manju & Rocholl, Jörg & Steffen, Sascha, 2011. "Global retail lending in the aftermath of the US financial crisis: Distinguishing between supply and demand effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 556-578, June.
    4. Ben-David, Itzhak & Agarwal, Sumit, 2012. "Do Loan Officers' Incentives Lead to Lax Lending Standards?," Working Paper Series 2012-07, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    5. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
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    7. Jose M. Liberti & Atif R. Mian, 2009. "Estimating the Effect of Hierarchies on Information Use," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(10), pages 4057-4090, October.
    8. Andrew Hertzberg & Jose Maria Liberti & Daniel Paravisini, 2010. "Information and Incentives Inside the Firm: Evidence from Loan Officer Rotation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(3), pages 795-828, June.
    9. Udell, Gregory F., 1989. "Loan quality, commercial loan review and loan officer contracting," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 367-382, July.
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    11. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Bellucci & Alexander Borisov & Alberto Zazzaro, 2016. "Bank Organization and Loan Contracting in Small Business Financing," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 118, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    2. Stefano Filomeni & Gregory F. Udell & Alberto Zazzaro, 2016. "Hardening Soft Information: How Far Has Technology Taken Us?," CSEF Working Papers 455, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    3. Paola Morales Acevedo & Steven Ongena, 2016. "Fear, Anger and Credit. On Bank Robberies and Loan Conditions," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1513, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. Behr, Patrick & Drexler, Alejandro & Gropp, Reint & Guettler, Andre, 2014. "Financial incentives and loan officer behavior: Multitasking and allocation of effort under an incomplete contract," SAFE Working Paper Series 62, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    5. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:35-57. is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Skrastins, Janis & Vig, Vikrant, 2015. "How organizational hierarchy affects information production," IMFS Working Paper Series 92, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    7. Ha-Thu Nguyen, 2014. "Default Predictors in Credit Scoring - Evidence from France’s Retail Banking Institution," EconomiX Working Papers 2014-26, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    8. Mosk, T.C., 2014. "Essays on banking," Other publications TiSEM d424ec24-1bfd-4be0-b19a-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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