Credit Supply, Flight to Quality and Evergreening: An Analysis of Bank-Firm Relationships after Lehman
59 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2010
Date Written: April 26, 2010
This paper analyzes the effects of the financial crisis on credit supply by using highly detailed data on bank-firm relationships in Italy after Lehman’s collapse. We control for firms’ unobservable characteristics, such as credit demand and borrowers’ risk, by exploiting multiple lending. We find evidence of a contraction of credit supply, associated to low bank capitalization and scarce liquidity. The ability of borrowers to compensate through substitution across banks appears to have been limited. We also document that larger less-capitalized banks reallocated loans away from riskier firms, contributing to credit pro-cyclicality. Such ‘flight to quality’ has not occurred for smaller less-capitalized banks. We argue that this may have reflected, among other things, evergreening practices. We provide corroborating evidence based on data on borrowers' productivity and interest rates at bank-firm level.
Keywords: credit supply, bank capital, flight to quality, evergreening
JEL Classification: E44, E51, G21, G34, L16
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