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Throwing Good Money After Bad? Board Connections and Conflicts in Bank Lending

  • Randall S. Kroszner
  • Philip E. Strahan
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    This paper investigates the frequency of connections between banks and non-financial firms through board linkages and whether those connections affect lending and borrowing behavior. Although a board linkages may reduce the costs of information flows between the lender and borrower, a board linkage may generate pressure for special treatment of a borrower not normally justifiable on economic grounds. To address this issue, we first document that banks are heavily involved in the corporate governance network through frequent board linkages. Banks tend to have larger boards with a higher proportion of outside directors than non- financial firms, and bank officer-directors tend to have more external board directorships than executives of non- financial firms. We then show that low- information cost firms -- large firms with a high proportion of tangible assets and relatively stable stock returns -- are most likely to have board connections to banks. These same low- information cost firms are also more likely to borrow from their connected bank, and when they do so the terms of the loan appear similar to loans to unconnected firms. In contrast to studies of Mexico, Russia and Asia where connections have been misused, our results suggest that avoidance of potential conflicts of interest explains both the allocation and behavior of bankers in the U.S. corporate governance system.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8694.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8694.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8694
    Note: CF
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    1. Cantillo, Miguel & Wright, Julian, 2000. "How Do Firms Choose Their Lenders? An Empirical Investigation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 155-89.
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    7. Baysinger, Barry D & Butler, Henry N, 1985. "Corporate Governance and the Board of Directors: Performance Effects of Changes in Board Composition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 101-24, Spring.
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    10. Kaplan, Steven N. & Minton, Bernadette A., 1994. "Appointments of outsiders to Japanese boards: Determinants and implications for managers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 225-258, October.
    11. Gorton, Gary & Kahn, James, 2000. "The Design of Bank Loan Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 331-64.
    12. Agrawal, Anup & Knoeber, Charles R., 1996. "Firm Performance and Mechanisms to Control Agency Problems between Managers and Shareholders," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 377-397, September.
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    14. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
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