Relationship Banking and Competition under Differentiated Asymmetric Information
While competition constrains the ability of banks to extract informational rents from lending relationships, their informational monopoly also curtails competition through the threat of adverse selection. To analyze an intermediary's optimal strategic response to these opposing effects we specify a model where the severity of asymmetric information between banks and borrowers increases with informational distance. Intermediaries acquire expertise in a specific sector and exert effort in building lending relationship beyond their core business. They then compete with each other in transaction and relationship loan markets where they differentiate their loan offers in terms of informational location. As increased competition endogenously erodes informational rents intermediaries shift more resources to building relationships in their core markets. This retrenchment from peripheral loan segments permits banks to fend off the competitive threat to their captive market. Outside their core segment they offer transactional loans. In equilibrium, both forms of debt compete with each other but intermediaries specialize in a core market with relationship banking.
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