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Who needs credit and who gets credit? Evidence from the Surveys of Small Business Finances

  • Cole, Rebel A.

In this study, we use data from the Federal Reserve’s 1993, 1998 and 2003 Surveys of Small Business Finances to classify small businesses into four groups based upon their credit needs and to model the credit allocation process into a sequence of three steps. First, do firms need credit? We classify those that do not as “non-borrowers;” these firms have received scant attention in the literature even though they account for more than half of all small firms. Second, do firms need credit but fail to apply because they feared being turned down? We classify such firms as “discouraged borrowers.” Like non-borrowers, discouraged borrowers have received little attention in the literature and often are pooled with firms who applied for, but were denied, credit. Discouraged borrowers outnumber firms that applied for, but were denied, credit by more than two to one. Third, do firms apply for credit, but get turned down? We classify such firms as “denied borrowers.” Finally, we classify firms that applied for, and were extended, credit as “approved borrowers.” Our results reveal strong and significant differences among each of these four groups of firms. Non-borrowers look very much like approved borrowers, consistent with the Pecking-Order Theory of capital structure. Discouraged borrowers resemble denied borrowers in many respects, but are significantly different along a number of dimensions. This finding calls into question the results from previous studies that have pooled together these two groups of firms in analyzing credit allocation. Finally, we find strong evidence that denied borrowers differ from approved borrowers across numerous characteristics, as previously documented in the literature. Of particular note, minority owned-firms, and especially Black-owned firms, were denied credit at a far higher rate than firms with owners who were white.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 24691.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2008
Date of revision: 15 Mar 2010
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24691
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  1. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1998. "Discrimination in the Small Business Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 6840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1994. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," NBER Working Papers 4921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cole, Rebel A., 1998. "The importance of relationships to the availability of credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 959-977, August.
  5. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
  6. Mark Carey & Mitch Post & Steven A. Sharpe, 1998. "Does Corporate Lending by Banks and Finance Companies Differ? Evidence on Specialization in Private Debt Contracting," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 845-878, 06.
  7. Ken Cavalluzzo & John Wolken, 2005. "Small Business Loan Turndowns, Personal Wealth, and Discrimination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2153-2178, November.
  8. Allen N. Berger & Nathan H. Miller & Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan & Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Does Function Follow Organzizational Form? Evidence From the Lending Practices of Large and Small Banks," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1976, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "Deposits and relationship lending," Working Papers 96-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," NBER Working Papers 7685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Greene, W.H., 1996. "Marginal Effects in the Bivariate Probit Model," Working Papers 96-11, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Sandra E. Black & Philip E. Strahan, 2002. "Entrepreneurship and Bank Credit Availability," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2807-2833, December.
  14. Cavalluzzo, Ken S & Cavalluzzo, Linda C, 1998. "Market Structure and Discrimination: The Case of Small Businesses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 771-92, November.
  15. Marianne P. Bitler & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2005. "Testing Agency Theory with Entrepreneur Effort and Wealth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 539-576, 04.
  16. Gregory E. Elliehausen & John D. Wolken, 1990. "Banking markets and the use of financial services by small and medium- sized businesses," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 801-817.
  17. Chakraborty, Atreya & Hu, Charles X., 2006. "Lending relationships in line-of-credit and nonline-of-credit loans: Evidence from collateral use in small business," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 86-107, January.
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