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.
Informed and Uninformed Investment in Housing: The Downside of Diversification
Review of Financial Studies,
Mortgage lenders that concentrate in a few markets invest more in information collection than diversified lenders. Concentrated lenders focus on the information-intensive jumbo market and on high-risk borrowers. They are better positioned to price risks and, thus, ration credit less. Adverse selection, however, leads to higher retention of mortgages relative to diversified lenders. Finally, concentrated lenders have higher profits than diversified lenders, their profits vary less systematically, and their stock prices fell less during the 2007—2008 credit crisis. The results imply that geographic diversification led to a decline in screening by lenders, which likely played a role in the 2007–2008 crisis.