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Hidden gems and borrowers with dirty little secrets: Investment in soft information, borrower self-selection and competition

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  • Gropp, Reint E.
  • Gruendl, Christian
  • Guettler, Andre

Abstract

This paper empirically examines the role of soft information in the competitive interaction between relationship and transaction banks. Soft information can be interpreted as a private signal about the quality of a firm that is observable to a relationship bank, but not to a transaction bank. We show that borrowers self-select to relationship banks depending on whether their privately observed soft information is positive or negative. Competition affects the investment in learning the private signal from firms by relationship banks and transaction banks asymmetrically. Relationship banks invest more; transaction banks invest less in soft information, exacerbating the selection effect. Finally, we show that firms where soft information was important in the lending decision were no more likely to default compared to firms where only financial information was used.

Suggested Citation

  • Gropp, Reint E. & Gruendl, Christian & Guettler, Andre, 2013. "Hidden gems and borrowers with dirty little secrets: Investment in soft information, borrower self-selection and competition," SAFE Working Paper Series 19, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:19
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    2. Faure, Salomon & Gersbach, Hans, 2016. "Money Creation, Monetary Policy, and Capital Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Wiegand, Manuel, 2015. "Friendship and money, oil and water? Credit constraints and "Family and Friends" finance," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112965, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Oliver Rehbein & Simon Rother, 2020. "The Role of Social Networks in Bank Lending," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 033, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
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    6. Ambrocio, Gene & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2018. "Private information and lender discretion across time and institutions," Research Discussion Papers 17/2018, Bank of Finland.
    7. Filomeni, Stefano & Udell, Gregory F. & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2020. "Communication frictions in banking organizations: Evidence from credit score lending," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    8. Gersbach, Hans & Haller, Hans & Müller, Jürg, 2015. "The macroeconomics of Modigliani–Miller," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 1081-1113.
    9. Mosk, T.C., 2014. "Essays on banking," Other publications TiSEM d424ec24-1bfd-4be0-b19a-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    soft information; discretionary lending; relationship lending; competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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