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Bank Consolidation and Consumer Loan Interest Rates

  • Charles Kahn
  • George Pennacchi
  • Ben Sopranzetti

The recent wave of bank mergers has raised concern with its effect on competition. This paper examines the influence of concentration and merger activity on consumer loan interest rates. It uses Bank Rate Monitor, Inc. survey data on loan rates quoted weekly by large commercial banks in ten major U.S. cities during the 1989 to 1997 period. The pricing behavior of banks is analyzed for two types of loans: new automobile loans and unsecured personal loans. Market concentration is found to have a positive and significant impact on the level of personal loans, but not automobile loans. Consistent with the exercise of market power, we find that personal loan rates rise in markets following a significant merger. However, this is a significant decrease in automobile loan rates charged by banks participating in within-market mergers, a finding consistent with economies of scale in the origination of automobile loans. The paper also tests for the existence of leader-follower relationships in loan pricing and finds that it is more widespread in markets for automobile loans. Interest rates on both types of loans respond asymmetrically to a change in equivalent maturity Treasury security rates, being more sensitive to a rise than a fall. In addition, personal loan rates are less responsive in more concentrated markets.

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File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/01/0114.pdf
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Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 01-14.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:01-14
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  1. Katerina Simons & Joanna Stavins, 1998. "Has antitrust policy in banking become obsolete?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 13-26.
  2. Charles Kahn & George Pennacchi & Ben Sopranzetti, 1999. "Bank Deposit Rate Clustering: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2185-2214, December.
  3. Barry Scholnick, 1999. "Interest Rate Asymmetries in Long-Term Loan and Deposit Markets," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 5-26, September.
  4. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
  5. Allen N. Berger & Timothy H. Hannan, 1987. "The price-concentration relationship in banking," Research Papers in Banking and Financial Economics 100, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Paola Sapienza, 2002. "The Effects of Banking Mergers on Loan Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 329-367, 02.
  7. Allen N. Berger & Rebecca S. Demsetz & Philip E. Strahan, 1998. "The consolidation of the financial services industry: causes, consequences, and implications for the future," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Allen N. Berger & Anthony Saunders & Joseph M. Scalise & Gregory F. Udell, 1998. "The Effects of Bank Mergers and Acquisitions on Small Business Lending," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-007, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  9. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron, 1992. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," NBER Working Papers 4138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jalal D. Akhavein & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "The effects of megamergers on efficiency and prices: evidence from a bank profit function," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-9, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Hannan, Timothy H & Berger, Allen N, 1991. "The Rigidity of Prices: Evidence from the Banking Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 938-45, September.
  12. Richard J. Rosen, 1993. "What goes up must come down? Asymmetries and persistence in bank deposit interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Robert R. Moore, 1997. "Bank acquisition determinants: implications for small business credit," Financial Industry Studies Working Paper 97-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  14. Loretta J. Mester & Anthony Saunders, 1990. "When does the prime rate change?," Working Papers 90-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. Neumark, David & Sharpe, Steven A, 1992. "Market Structure and the Nature of Price Rigidity: Evidence from the Market for Consumer Deposits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 657-80, May.
  16. Philip E. Strahan & James Weston, 1996. "Small business lending and bank consolidation: is there cause for concern?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 2(Mar).
  17. Allen N. Berger & Anil K. Kashyap & Joseph Scalise, 1995. "The Transformation of the U.S. Banking Industry: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-06, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  18. Prager, Robin A & Hannan, Timothy H, 1998. "Do Substantial Horizontal Mergers Generate Significant Price Effects? Evidence from the Banking Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 433-52, December.
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