Banks’ corporate control and relationship lending: evidence from retail loans
Universal banks can have control over borrowers by holding equity stakes in the borrower firm. Banks’ corporate control is likely to increase the likelihood of providing a future loan as they mitigate information asymmetry and agency costs of debt. Using panel data on Portuguese companies, we find that a bank corporate control enhances the probability of providing a future loan by 10 percentage points relative to a relationship lender with no control. This finding is robust to the inclusion of many firm-level controls, including firm fixed effects, and to instrumental variable methods to correct for the potential endogeneity of banks’ equity stakes in borrower firms. Consistent with our hypotheses, the effect is significantly higher for borrowers with greater information asymmetry, while the effect is lower when the borrower has multiple lending relationships or multiple banks as shareholders. Our results suggest banks’ corporate control affect the choice of the lender in the corporate loan market.
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