Are the Borrowing Costs of Large Financial Firms Unusual?

60 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015

See all articles by Javed Ahmed

Javed Ahmed

Metis

Christopher Anderson

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Rebecca Zarutskie

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 13, 2015

Abstract

Expectations of government support for large financial firms are often based on their lower borrowing costs relative to smaller financial firms. However, large financial firms are not unique in this regard: larger firms enjoy lower borrowing costs in several industries. We show that size-related borrowing cost advantages are not unusually large in the financial industry, and spreads are actually more sensitive to borrower size in several nonfinancial industries. These size-related differences are not explained by differences in risk and are only partially explained by higher liquidity and recovery rates for larger borrowers. Our results suggest that estimates of implicit government guarantees for financial firms may overemphasize the relationship between size-related borrowing cost differentials and expected bailouts. Our analysis also suggests that in the period leading to the 2008-9 financial crisis, perceptions of reduced risk may have lowered borrowing costs for the financial industry as a whole.

Keywords: Financial industry, too-big-to-fail, implicit government guarantee, size effect, borrowing costs, credit default swaps

JEL Classification: G21, G22, G24, G28

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Javed and Anderson, Christopher and Zarutskie, Rebecca, Are the Borrowing Costs of Large Financial Firms Unusual? (May 13, 2015). Office of Financial Research Working Paper No. 15-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2669637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2669637

Javed Ahmed (Contact Author)

Metis ( email )

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Christopher Anderson

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

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Rebecca Zarutskie

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

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United States
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