- Collateral, relationship lending and financial distress : an empirical study on financial contracting (2002)
- This paper analyses the role of collateral in loan contracting when companies are financed by multiple bank lenders and relationship lending can be present. We conjecture and empirically validate that relationship lenders, who enjoy an informational advantage over arm’s-length banks, are more senior to strengthen their bargaining power in future renegotiation if borrower’s face financial distress. This deters costly conflicts between lenders and fosters workout decisions by the best informed party. Consistent with our conjecture, we find that relationship lender in general have a higher probability to be collateralized, and a higher degree of collateralization (i.e. seniority). Furthermore, we show that seniority and the status of relationship lending increases the likelihood that a bank invests in a risky workout of distressed borrowers. Both findings support the view that collateral is a strategic instrument intended to influence the bargaining position of banks. Our result further suggest that seniority and relationship lending are complementary to each other. JEL Classification: G21
- Universal banks and relationships with firms (2003)
- Some of the most widely expressed myths about the German financial system are concerned with the close ties and intensive interaction between banks and firms, often described as Hausbank relationships. Links between banks and firms include direct shareholdings, board representation, and proxy voting and are particularly significant for corporate governance. Allegedly, these relationships promote investment and improve the performance of firms. Furthermore, German universal banks are believed to play a special role as large and informed monitoring investors (shareholders). However, for the very same reasons, German universal banks are frequently accused of abusing their influence on firms by exploiting rents and sustaining the entrenchment of firms against efficient transfers of firm control. In this paper, we review recent empirical evidence regarding the special role of banks for the corporate governance of German firms. We differentiate between large exchangelisted firms and small and medium sized companies throughout. With respect to the role of banks as monitoring investors, the evidence does not unanimously support a special role of banks for large firms. Only one study finds that banks´ control of management goes beyond what nonbank shareholders achieve. Proxyvoting rights apparently do not provide a significant means for banks to exert management control. Most of the recent evidence regarding small firms suggests that a Hausbank relationship can indeed be beneficial. Hausbanks are more willing to sustain financing when borrower quality deteriorates, and they invest more often than arm´s length banks in workouts if borrowers face financial distress. Klassifikation: G21, G32. Revised version forthcoming in "The German Financial System", edited by Jan P. Krahnen and Reinhard H. Schmidt, Oxford University Press. September 2003.
- Collateral, default risk, and relationship lending : an empirical study on financial contracting (1999)
- This paper provides further insights into the nature of relationship lending by analyzing the link between relationship lending, borrower quality and collateral as a key variable in loan contract design. We used a unique data set based on the examination of credit files of five leading German banks, thus relying on information actually used in the process of bank credit decision-making and contract design. In particular, bank internal borrower ratings serve to evaluate borrower quality, and the bank's own assessment of its housebank status serves to identify information-intensive relationships. Additionally, we used data on workout activities for borrowers facing financial distress. We found no significant correlation between ex ante borrower quality and the incidence or degree of collateralization. Our results indicate that the use of collateral in loan contract design is mainly driven by aspects of relationship lending and renegotiations. We found that relationship lenders or housebanks do require more collateral from their debtors, thereby increasing the borrower's lock-in and strengthening the banks' bargaining power in future renegotiation situations. This result is strongly supported by our analysis of the correlation between ex post risk, collateral and relationship lending since housebanks do more frequently engage in workout activities for distressed borrowers, and collateralization increases workout probability. First version: March 12, 1999
- Is relationship lending special? : Evidence from credit-file data in Germany (1998)
- The German financial market is often characterized as a bank-based system with strong bank-customer relationships. The corresponding notion of a housebank is closely related to the theoretical idea of relationship lending. It is the objective of this paper to provide a direct comparison between housebanks and "normal" banks as to their credit policy. Therefore, we analyze a new data set, representing a random sample of borrowers drawn from the credit portfolios of five leading German banks over a period of five years. We use credit-file data rather than industry survey data and, thus, focus the analysis on information that is directly related to actual credit decisions. In particular, we use bank-internal borrower rating data to evaluate borrower quality, and the bank's own assessment of its housebank status to control for information-intensive relationships.