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Rules versus discretion in loan rate setting


Cerqueiro, Geraldo; Degryse, Hans; Ongena, Steven (2011). Rules versus discretion in loan rate setting. Journal of Financial Intermediation, 20(4):503-529.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Finance
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:October 2011
Deposited On:24 Nov 2020 12:12
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 21:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1042-9573
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfi.2010.12.002
Official URL:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1042957310000525
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:11778

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