Intermediation Via Credit Chains
61 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2022 Last revised: 19 Jun 2023
Date Written: January 2022
The modern financial system features complicated financial intermediation chains, with each layer performing a certain degree of credit/maturity transformation. We develop a dynamic model in which an entrepreneur borrows from overlapping-generation households via layers of funds, forming a credit chain. Each intermediary fund in the chain faces rollover risks from its lenders, and the optimal debt contracts among layers are time invariant and layer independent. The model delivers new insights regarding the benefits of intermediation via layers: the chain structure insulates interim negative fundamental shocks and protects the underlying cash flows from being discounted heavily during bad times, resulting in a greater borrowing capacity. We show that the equilibrium chain length minimizes the run risk for any given contract and find that restricting credit chain length can improve total welfare once the available funding from households has been endogenized.
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