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Is relationship lending special? Evidence from credit-file data in Germany

Autoren/Herausgeber: Ralf Elsas
Jan Pieter Krahnen
Erschienen: 1998
ISBN/ISSN: 0378-4266
erschienen in: Journal of Banking and Finance
Weitere Quellenangabe: 22, 1283-1316

The German financial market is often characterized as a bank-based system with strong bank–customer relationships. The corresponding notion of a housebank is closely related to the theoretical idea of relationship lending. It is the objective of this paper to provide a direct comparison between housebanks and “normal” banks as to their credit policy. Therefore, we analyze a new data set, representing a random sample of borrowers drawn from the credit portfolios of five leading German banks over a period of five years. We use credit-file data rather than industry survey data and, thus, focus the analysis on information that is directly related to actual credit decisions. In particular, we use bank-internal borrower rating data to evaluate borrower quality, and the bank’s own assessment of its housebank status to control for information-intensive relationships. The major results of our study support the view that housebanks are able to establish a distinct behavioral pattern consistent with the idea of long-term commitment. We find that housebanks do provide liquidity insurance in situations of unexpected deterioration of borrower ratings. With respect to loan pricing, we find no evidence for intra- or intertemporal price differentiation related to housebanking.



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