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Financial incentives and loan officer behavior: Multitasking and allocation of effort under an incomplete contract

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  • Behr, Patrick
  • Drexler, Alejandro
  • Gropp, Reint E.
  • Guettler, Andre

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the implications of providing loan officers with a compensation structure that rewards loan volume and penalizes poor performance versus a fixed wage unrelated to performance. We study detailed transaction information for more than 45,000 loans issued by 240 loan officers of a large commercial bank in Europe. We examine the three main activities that loan officers perform: monitoring, originating, and screening. We find that when the performance of their portfolio deteriorates, loan officers increase their effort to monitor existing borrowers, reduce loan origination, and approve a higher fraction of loan applications. These loans, however, are of above-average quality. Consistent with the theoretical literature on multitasking in incomplete contracts, we show that loan officers neglect activities that are not directly rewarded under the contract, but are in the interest of the bank. In addition, while the response by loan officers constitutes a rational response to a time allocation problem, their reaction to incentives appears myopic in other dimensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Behr, Patrick & Drexler, Alejandro & Gropp, Reint E. & Guettler, Andre, 2014. "Financial incentives and loan officer behavior: Multitasking and allocation of effort under an incomplete contract," SAFE Working Paper Series 62, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:62
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gropp, Reint E. & Park, Kyounghoon, 2016. "To Separate or not to Separate Investment from Commercial Banking? An Empirical Analysis of Attention Distortion under Multiple Tasks," IWH Discussion Papers 2/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. Cowan, Kevin & Drexler, Alejandro & Yañez, Álvaro, 2015. "The effect of credit guarantees on credit availability and delinquency rates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 98-110.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    loan officer; incentives; monitoring; screening; loan origination;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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