Heterogeneity in Lending and Sectoral Growth: Evidence from German Bank-level Data

This paper investigates whether heterogeneity across firms and banks matters for the impact of domestic sectoral growth on bank lending. We use several bank-level datasets provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank for the 1996–2002 period. Our results show that firm heterogeneity and bank heterogeneity affect how lending responds to domestic sectoral growth. We document that banks’ total lending to German firms reacts pro-cyclically to domestic sectoral growth, while lending exceeding a threshold of €1.5 million to German and foreign firms does not. Moreover, we document that the response of lending depends on bank characteristics such as the banking groups, the banks’ asset size, and the degree of sectoral specialization. We find that total domestic lending by savings banks and credit cooperatives (including their regional institutions), smaller banks, and banks that are highly specialized in specific sectors responds positively and, in relevant cases, more strongly to domestic sectoral growth.

01. April 2006

Authors A. Schertler Claudia M. Buch N. von Westernhagen

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