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The Commitment Problem of Secured Lending

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Abstract

The paper investigates optimal financial contracts when investment in pledgeable assets is endogenous and not observable to financiers. In a setting with uncertainty, two inputs with different collateral value and investment unobservability, we show that a firm-bank secured credit contract is time-inconsistent: Once credit has been granted, the entrepreneur has an ex-post incentive to alter the input combination towards the input with low collateral value and higher productivity, thus jeopardizing total bank revenues. Anticipating the entrepreneur's opportunism, the bank offers a non-collateralized credit contract, thereby reducing the surplus of the venture. One way for the firm to commit to the contract terms is to purchase inputs on credit and pledge them to the supplier in case of default. Observing the input investment and having a stake in the bad state, the supplier acts as a guarantor that the input combination specified in the bank contract will be actually purchased and that the entrepreneur will stick to the contract terms. The paper concludes that: (1) Buying inputs on account facilitates the access to collateralized bank financing; (2) Firms using both trade credit and collateralized bank finance invest more in pledgeable assets than firms only using uncollateralized bank credit. Our results are robust to the possibility of collusion between entrepreneur and supplier.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Fabbri & Annamaria Menichini, 2012. "The Commitment Problem of Secured Lending," CSEF Working Papers 318, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:318
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    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
    2. Nicholas Wilson & Barbara Summers, 2002. "Trade Credit Terms Offered by Small Firms: Survey Evidence and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3&4), pages 317-351.
    3. Fabbri, Daniela & Menichini, Anna Maria C., 2010. "Trade credit, collateral liquidation, and borrowing constraints," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 413-432, June.
    4. Efraim Benmelech, 2009. "Asset Salability and Debt Maturity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century American Railroads," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1545-1584, April.
    5. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. " Collateral and Competitive Equilibria with Moral Hazard and Private Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-363, June.
    6. Brennan, Michael J & Maksimovic, Vojislav & Zechner, Josef, 1988. " Vendor Financing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1127-1141, December.
    7. J. Stephen Ferris, 1981. "A Transactions Theory of Trade Credit Use," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 243-270.
    8. Chee K. Ng & Janet Kiholm Smith & Richard L. Smith, 1999. "Evidence on the Determinants of Credit Terms Used in Interfirm Trade," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 1109-1129, June.
    9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
    10. Cook, Lisa D., 1999. "Trade credit and bank finance: Financing small firms in russia," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 14(5-6), pages 493-518.
    11. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Kanatas, George, 1985. "Asymmetric Valuations and the Role of Collateral in Loan Agreements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 17(1), pages 84-95, February.
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    Keywords

    collateral; commitment; trade credit; bank financing;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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