The Ability of Banks to Lend to Informationally Opaque Small Businesses
Allen N. Berger
University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business; Wharton Financial Institutions Center; European Banking Center
Leora F. Klapper
World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)
Gregory F. Udell
Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2656
Large and foreign-owned institutions may have difficulty extending relationship loans to informationally opaque small firms. Bank distress does not appear to affect small business lending, although even small firms may react to bank distress by borrowing from multiple banks.
Consolidation of the banking industry is shifting assets into larger institutions that often operate in many nations. Large international financial institutions are geared toward serving large wholesale customers. How does this affect the banking system's ability to lend to informationally opaque small businesses?
Berger, Klapper, and Udell test hypotheses about the effects of bank size, foreign ownership, and distress on lending to informationally opaque small firms, using a rich new data set on Argentinean banks, firms, and loans. They also test hypotheses about borrowing from a single bank versus borrowing from several banks.
Their results suggest that large and foreign-owned institutions may have difficulty extending relationship loans to opaque small firms, especially if small businesses are delinquent in repaying their loans.
Bank distress resulting from lax prudential supervision and regulation appears to have no greater effect on small borrowers than on large borrowers, although even small firms may react to bank distress by borrowing from multiple banks, despite raising borrowing costs and destroying some of the benefits of exclusive lending relationships.
This paper - a product of Finance, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to study small and medium size firm financing. The authors may be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
JEL Classification: G21, G15, G28, G34
Date posted: February 16, 2001