Inter-Firm Relationships and the Special Role of Common Banks
51 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 Mar 2021
Date Written: December 16, 2020
Using a novel dataset that combines information on customer-supplier trade relationships with information on firm-bank lending relationships, we show that common banks that lend to firms at both ends of a trade link strengthen such trade relationships. We use bank mergers that generate exogenous variations in presence of common banks to establish causality and show that common bank relationships between customers and suppliers increase trade relationships by 41.5%. The role of common bank is greater for more opaque supply chains and when the common bank is more informed. We argue that common banks bridge information gaps between trading partners and mitigate hold-up problems. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that firms with a higher share of trading partners with whom they also share common banks have more concentrated customer base and invest more in relationship specific assets. Lastly, we show that common banks played a central role in facilitating provision of trade credit by suppliers during the Great Recession. Overall, our findings show the unique role of banks in driving inter-firm growth.
Keywords: supply chain, bank relationship, customer concentration, information asymmetry, hold-up problems, economic growth, financial intermediation, trade credit
JEL Classification: G21, G30, G32, L14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation