Bank Market Power and Loan Contracts: Empirical Evidence
Using a sample of syndicated loan facilities granted to US corporate borrowers from 1987 to 2013, we directly gauge the lead banks’ market power, and test its effects on both price and non‐price terms in loan contracts. We find that bank market power is positively correlated with loan spreads, and the positive relation holds for both non‐relationship loans and relationship loans. In particular, we report that, for relationship loans, lending banks charge lower loan price for borrowing firms with lower switching cost. We further employ a framework accommodating the joint determination of loan contractual terms, and document that the lead banks’ market power is positively correlated with collateral and negatively correlated with loan maturity. In addition, we report a significant and negative relationship between banking power and the number of covenants in loan contracts, and the negative relationship is stronger for relationship loans.
Hold-up and the Use of Performance-sensitive Debt
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
We examine whether performance-sensitive debt (PSD) is used to reduce hold-up problems in long-term lending relationships. We find that the use of PSD is more common in the presence of a long-term lending relationship and if the borrower has fewer financing alternatives available. In syndicated deals, however, the presence of a relationship lead arranger reduces the use of PSD because a lead arranger has little incentive to hold-up a client. Further supporting the hypothesis that hold-up concerns motivate the use of PSD, we find a substitution effect between the use of PSD and the tightness of financial covenants.
The Impact of Credit Default Swap Trading on Loan Syndication
Review of Finance,
We analyze the impact of credit default swap (CDS) trading on bank syndication activity. Theoretically, the effect of CDS trading is ambiguous: on the one hand, CDS can improve risk-sharing and hence be a more flexible risk management tool than loan syndication; on the other hand, CDS trading can reduce bank monitoring incentives. We document that banks are less likely to syndicate loans and retain a larger loan fraction once CDS are actively traded on the borrower’s debt. We then discern the risk management and the moral hazard channel. We find no evidence that the reduced likelihood to syndicate loans is a result of increased moral hazard problems.
Corporate Boards and Bank Loan Contracting
The Journal of Financial Research,
We investigate the role of corporate boards in bank loan contracting. We find that when corporate boards are more independent, both price and nonprice loan terms (e.g., interest rates, collateral, covenants, and performance-pricing provisions) are more favorable, and syndicated loans comprise more lenders. In addition, board size, audit committee structure, and other board characteristics influence bank loan prices. However, they do not consistently affect all nonprice loan terms except for audit committee independence. Our study provides strong evidence that banks recognize the benefits of board monitoring in mitigating information risk ex ante and controlling agency risk ex post, and they reward higher quality boards with more favorable loan contract terms.