Bank Syndicates and Liquidity Provision
52 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020
Date Written: March 2020
We provide evidence that credit lines offer liquidity insurance to borrowers. Borrowers are able to extensively use their credit lines in recessions and ahead of credit line cuts. In fact draw-downs and changes in draw-downs predict internal credit rating downgrades and credit line cuts. Credit line cuts are concentrated on borrowers who do not use credit lines, and when they occur they still leave borrowers with funds to draw down. Further, lead banks often increase their credit line investments in response to the failure of syndicate members, reducing borrowers' risk exposure to bank failures. Building on this evidence, we develop a model where syndicates faced with liquidity shocks continue to support credit line commitments due to the continuation value of their relationship with borrowers. Our model yields a set of additional predictions that find support in the data, including the substantial increase in the lead bank's retained loan share and in the commitment fees on the credit lines issued during the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
Keywords: Loan Syndicates, Loan Commitments, Credit Lines, Pricing, Liquidity
JEL Classification: G01, G21, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation