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The Importance of Being Known: Relationship Banking and Credit Limits

  • Cresenta Fernando

    (World Bank)

  • Atreya Chakraborty

    (The Brattle Group)

  • Rajiv Mallick

    (Harvard Business School)

This paper measures the importance of bank-firm relationships in obtaining higher credit “limits.” We use data from a relatively unused section of the National Survey of Small Business Finance (NSSBF, 1993) on credit limits, credit sources, and contract terms for firms with lines of credit from multiple banks. This lets us isolate the credit limit that each bank provides the same firm, eliminating the need to control for often immeasurable, unreliable, or firm-specific “soft” information. For a median Line of Credit (LOC) of $250,000, we find that a bank with a five-year information advantage provides a LOC limit that is $20,000 higher. We also find that purchase of loan and non-loan services by firm from the contracting bank affects the credit limit differently. Non-loan services increase the credit limit and loan services decrease the credit limit. Our findings confirm anecdotal claims from the small business community that relationships are vital to secure higher credit limits. We check for the robustness of our results to outliers, sample selection, and stratification across firm organization types.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/fin/papers/0209/0209007.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 0209007.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 20 Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0209007
Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on Macintosh; to print on PostScript; pages: 28 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Cole, Rebel A., 1998. "The importance of relationships to the availability of credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 959-977, August.
  2. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
  3. Robert B. Avery & Allen N. Berger, 1990. "Loan commitments and bank risk exposure," Working Paper 9015, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
  5. Thakor, Anjan V., 2000. "Relationship Banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 3-5, January.
  6. Allen N. Berger & Leora F. Klapper & Gegory F. Udell, 2001. "The ability of banks to lend to informationally opaque small businesses," Proceedings 709, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1995. "Relationship Lending and Lines of Credit in Small Firm Finance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(3), pages 351-81, July.
  8. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  9. Arnoud W. A. Boot & Anjan V. Thakor, 2000. "Can Relationship Banking Survive Competition?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 679-713, 04.
  10. Rajan, Raghuram & Winton, Andrew, 1995. " Covenants and Collateral as Incentives to Monitor," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1113-46, September.
  11. Ongena, Steven & Smith, David C., 2001. "The duration of bank relationships," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 449-475, September.
  12. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," NBER Working Papers 7685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  14. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  15. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
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