Relationship Lending within a Bank-Based System: Evidence from European Small Business Data
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
We investigate relationship lending using detailed contract information from nearly 18,000 bank loans to small Belgian firms operating within the continental European bank-based system. Specifically, we investigate the impact of different measures of relationship strength on price and nonprice terms of the loan contract. We test for the possibility of rent shifting by banks. The evidence shows two opposing effects. On the one hand, the loan rate increases with the duration of a bank–firm relationship. On the other hand, the scope of a relationship, defined as the purchase of other information-sensitive products from a bank, decreases the loan's interest rate substantially. Relationship duration and scope thus have opposite effects on loan rates, with the latter being more important. We also find that the collateral requirement is decreasing in the duration of the relationship and increasing in its scope.
When Arm’s Length Is Too Far. Relationship Banking over the Credit Cycle
Journal of Financial Economics,
We conduct face-to-face interviews with bank CEOs to classify 397 banks across 21 countries as either relationship or transaction lenders. We then use the geographic coordinates of these banks’ branches and of 14,100 businesses to analyze how the lending techniques of banks in the vicinity of firms are related to credit constraints at two contrasting points of the credit cycle. We find that while relationship lending is not associated with credit constraints during a credit boom, it alleviates such constraints during a downturn. This positive role of relationship lending is stronger for small and opaque firms and in regions with a more severe economic downturn. Moreover, our evidence suggests that relationship lending mitigates the impact of a downturn on firm growth and does not constitute evergreening of loans.