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Collateral, default risk, and relationship lending: An empirical study on financial contracting

  • Elsas, Ralf
  • Krahnen, Jan Pieter

This paper provides further insights into the nature of relationship lending by analyzing the link between relationship lending, borrower quality and collateral as a key variable in loan contract design. We used a unique data set based on the examination of credit files of five leading German banks, thus relying on information actually used in the process of bank credit decision-making and contract design. In particular, bank internal borrower ratings serve to evaluate borrower quality, and the bank's own assessment of its housebank status serves to identify information-intensive relationships. Additionally, we used data on workout activities for borrowers facing financial distress. We found no significant correlation between ex ante borrower quality and the incidence or degree of collateralization. Our results indicate that the use of collateral in loan contract design is mainly driven by aspects of relationship lending and renegotiations. We found that relationship lenders or housebanks do require more collateral from their debtors, thereby increasing the borrower's lock-in and strengthening the banks' bargaining power in future renegotiation situations. This result is strongly supported by our analysis of the correlation between ex post risk, collateral and relationship lending since housebanks do more frequently engage in workout activities for distressed borrowers, and collateralization increases workout probability.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 1999/13.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:199913
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  1. Sharpe, Steven A, 1990. " Asymmetric Information, Bank Lending, and Implicit Contracts: A Stylized Model of Customer Relationships," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1069-87, September.
  2. Longhofer, Stanley D. & Santos, Joao A. C., 2000. "The Importance of Bank Seniority for Relationship Lending," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 57-89, January.
  3. Steven Ongena & David C. Smith, 1997. "Empirical Evidence on the Duration of Bank Relationships," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-15, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Hans Degryse & Partick Van cayseele, 1998. "Relationship Lending within a Bank-based System: Evidence from European Small Business Data," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9816, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  5. Machauer, Achim & Weber, Martin, 1998. "Bank behavior based on internal credit ratings of borrowers," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  6. Elsas, Ralf & Krahnen, Jan Pieter, 1998. "Is relationship lending special? Evidence from credit-file data in Germany," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(10-11), pages 1283-1316, October.
  7. Bester, H., 1990. "The Role of Collateral in a Model of Debt Renegotiation," Discussion Paper 1990-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Brunner, Antje & Pieter, Jan & Weber, Martin, 2000. "Information production in credit relationship: On the role of internal ratings in commercial banking," CFS Working Paper Series 2000/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1992. " Insiders and Outsiders: The Choice between Informed and Arm's-Length Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1367-400, September.
  10. Besanko, David & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. "Collateral and Rationing: Sorting Equilibria in Monopolistic and Competitive Credit Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 671-89, October.
  11. Hellwig, Martin, 1989. "Asymmetric information, financial markets, and financial institutions Where are we currently going?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 277-285, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1994. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," NBER Working Papers 4921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Elsas, Ralf & Henke, Sabine & Machauer, Achim & Rott, Roland & Schenk, Gerald, 1998. "Empirical analysis of credit relationships in small firms financing: Sampling design and descriptive statistics," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  15. 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.
  16. Preece, Dianna & Mullineaux, Donald J., 1996. "Monitoring, loan renegotiability, and firm value: The role of lending syndicates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 577-593, April.
  17. Greenbaum, Stuart I. & Kanatas, George & Venezia, Itzhak, 1989. "Equilibrium loan pricing under the bank-client relationship," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 221-235, May.
  18. 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.
  19. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, June.
  20. Ongena, Steven & Smith, David C., 2001. "The duration of bank relationships," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 449-475, September.
  21. Welch, Ivo, 1997. "Why Is Bank Debt Senior? A Theory of Asymmetry and Claim Priority Based on Influence Costs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(4), pages 1203-36.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
  26. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan V, 1994. "Moral Hazard and Secured Lending in an Infinitely Repeated Credit Market Game," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 899-920, November.
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