Covenant Violations, Collateral and Credit Access: Public and Private Firms
41 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016 Last revised: 15 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 4, 2018
We study the impact of covenant violations on credit access for privately-held and publicly-traded firms, using a rich supervisory dataset of syndicated loans from 2006-2012. Leveraging the unique information on covenant compliance, collateral and default risk in the data, we show that banks are substantially less likely to forgive covenant violations by private firms. Hence, private firms, especially those with assets below $1 billion, experience more severe credit cuts than comparable public firms after violations. We find that collateral plays an important role in alleviating credit rationing for private firms after covenant violations. In addition, an external rating or an established presence in the syndicated loan market helps private firms to preserve loan access. Recessions aggravate credit constraints due to increased violations, stressed collateral values and tighter lending standards. We conclude that banks’ use of the covenant channel disproportionately impacts private firms’ credit access and may further exacerbate the impact of business cycles.
Keywords: Covenant Violations, Waiver, Private Firms, Collateral, Recession, Syndicated Loans, Limit Cut
JEL Classification: G21, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation