What Drives Discretion in Bank Lending? Some Evidence and a Link to Private Information
Journal of Banking & Finance,
We assess the extent to which discretion, unexplained variations in the terms of a loan contract, has varied across time and lending institutions and show that part of this discretion is due to private information that lenders have on their borrowers. We find that discretion is lower for secured loans and loans granted by a larger group of lenders, and is larger when the lenders are larger and more profitable. Over time, discretion is also lower around recessions although the private information content is higher. The results suggest that bank discretionary and private information acquisition behavior may be important features of the credit cycle.
Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice
Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice (IWH-CEP) ...
Rules versus Discretion in Loan Rate Setting
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Loan rates for seemingly identical borrowers often exhibit substantial dispersion. This paper investigates the determinants of the dispersion in interest rates on loans granted by banks to small and medium sized enterprises. We associate this dispersion with the loan officers’ use of “discretion” in the loan rate setting process. We find that “discretion” is most important if: (i) loans are small and unsecured; (ii) firms are small and opaque; (iii) the firm operates in a large and highly concentrated banking market; and (iv) the firm is distantly located from the lender. Consistent with the proliferation of information-technologies in the banking industry, we find a decreasing role for “discretion” over time in the provision of small credits to opaque firms. While widely used in the pricing of loans, “discretion” plays only a minor role in the decisions to grant loans.
Investment and Internal Finance: Asymmetric Information or Managerial Discretion?
International Journal of Industrial Organization,
This paper examines the investment-cash flow sensitivity of publicly listed firms in The Netherlands. Investment-cash flow sensitivities can be attributed to overinvestment resulting from the abuse of managerial discretion, but also to underinvestment due to information problems. The Dutch corporate governance structure presents a number of distinctive features, in particular the limited influence of shareholders, the presence of large blockholders, and the importance of bank ties. We expect that in The Netherlands, the managerial discretion problem is more important than the asymmetric information problem. We use Tobin's Q to discriminate between firms with these problems, where LOW Q firms face the managerial discretion problem and HIGH Q firms the asymmetric information problem. As hypothesized, we find substantially larger investment-cash flow sensitivity for LOW Q firms. Moreover, specifically in the LOW Q sample, we find that firms with higher (bank) debt have lower investment-cash flow sensitivity. This finding shows that leverage, and particularly bank debt, is a key disciplinary mechanism which reduces the managerial discretion problem.