Bank Loan Sales: A New Look at the Motivation for Secondary Market Activity

Posted: 26 Jan 2000


Bank lending traditionally involves the extension of credit that is held by the originating bank until maturity. Loan sales allow banks to deviate from this pattern by transferring loans in part or in their entirety from their own books to those of another institution. I use a new methodology to test the validity of two hypotheses regarding banks' motivations for selling and buying loans: (1) the comparative advantage hypothesis, that banks with a comparative advantage in originating loans sell and those with a comparative advantage in funding loans buy, and (2) the diversification hypothesis, that banks lacking the ability to diversify internally use loan sales and purchases to achieve diversification. I also address the possibility that information asymmetries may increase the cost of participating in secondary markets. Particular attention is paid to the importance of affiliate relationships in overcoming informational barriers to participation. The empirical evidence presented here helps clarify the benefits of an active secondary loan market and generates predictions regarding the future of that market in a world of rapid consolidation and disappearing barriers to georgraphical expansion.

JEL Classification: G21

Suggested Citation

Demsetz, Rebecca S., Bank Loan Sales: A New Look at the Motivation for Secondary Market Activity. Available at SSRN:

Rebecca S. Demsetz (Contact Author)

Data For Decisions LLC ( email )

11 Winthrop Circle
Weston, MA 02493
United States

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