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On the Profitability and Cost of Relationship Lending

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  • Mitchell Berlin
  • Loretta J. Mester

Abstract

We provide evidence on the costs and profitability of relationship lending by banks. We derive bank-specific measures of loan rate smoothing for small business borrowers in response to exogenous shocks to their credit risk and to interest rates, and then estimate cost and profit functions to examine how smoothing affects bank costs and profits. Our results suggests that, in general, loan rate smoothing in response to a credit risk shock is not part of an optimal long-term contract between a bank and its borrower, while loan rate smoothing in response to an interest rate shock is.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1997. "On the Profitability and Cost of Relationship Lending," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-43, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:97-43
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    File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/97/9743.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hannan, Timothy H., 1991. "Bank commercial loan markets and the role of market structure: evidence from surveys of commercial lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 133-149, February.
    2. Fried, Joel & Howitt, Peter, 1980. "Credit Rationing and Implicit Contract Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 471-487, August.
    3. Berlin, Mitchell & Mester, Loretta J, 1999. "Deposits and Relationship Lending," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 579-607.
    4. Avery, Robert B. & Berger, Allen N., 1991. "Loan commitments and bank risk exposure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 173-192, February.
    5. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-921, September.
    6. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
    7. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1992. "Some Evidence on the Empirical Significance of Credit Rationing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 1047-1077, October.
    8. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1987. "The Relative Rigidity of Monopoly Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 917-926, December.
    9. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-443.
    10. Carlton, Dennis W, 1986. "The Rigidity of Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 637-658, September.
    11. Joseph P. Hughes & William W. Lang & Loretta J. Mester & Choon-Geol Moon, 1996. "Safety in numbers? Geographic diversification and bank insolvency risk," Proceedings 504, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    12. Berger, Allen N. & Udell, Gregory F., 1990. "Collateral, loan quality and bank risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 21-42, January.
    13. Clive D. Fraser, "undated". "Safety in Numbers," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 96/9, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank; Lending; Small Business; Profit; Cost;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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