Aggregate Risk and the Choice between Cash and Lines of Credit

85 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2012

See all articles by Viral V. Acharya

Viral V. Acharya

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Heitor Almeida

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Murillo Campello

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 31, 2012

Abstract

We model corporate liquidity policy and show that aggregate risk exposure is a key determinant of how firms choose between cash and bank credit lines. Banks create liquidity for firms by pooling their idiosyncratic risks. As a result, firms with high aggregate risk find it costly to get credit lines and opt for cash in spite of higher opportunity costs and liquidity premium. Likewise, in times when aggregate risk is high, firms rely more on cash than on credit lines. We verify these predictions empirically. Cross-sectional analyses show that firms with high exposure to systematic risk have a higher ratio of cash to credit lines and face higher costs on their lines. Time-series analyses show that firms’ cash reserves rise in times of high aggregate volatility and in such times credit lines initiations fall, their spreads widen, and maturities shorten. Also consistent with the mechanism in the model, we find that exposure to undrawn credit lines increases bank-specific risks in times of high aggregate volatility.

Keywords: bank lines of credit, cash holdings, liquidity management, systematic risk, loan spreads, loan

JEL Classification: G21, G31, G32, E22, E5

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Viral V. and Almeida, Heitor and Campello, Murillo, Aggregate Risk and the Choice between Cash and Lines of Credit (July 31, 2012). Journal of Finance, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2121075

Viral V. Acharya

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~sternfin/vacharya/public_html/~vacharya.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Heitor Almeida (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

515 East Gregory Drive
4037 BIF
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-3332704 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.illinois.edu/FacultyProfile/faculty_profile.aspx?ID=11357

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Murillo Campello

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

114 East Avenue
369 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Faculty-And-Research/Profile.aspx?id=mnc35

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

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