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Shock Transmission through Cross-Border Bank Lending: Credit and Real Effects
We study the transmission of financial shocks across borders through international bank connections. Using data on cross-border interbank loans among 6,000 banks during 1997-2012, we estimate the effect of asset-side exposures to banks in countries experiencing systemic banking crises on profitability, credit, and the performance of borrower firms. Crisis exposures reduce bank returns and tighten credit conditions for borrowers, constraining investment and growth. The effects are larger for foreign borrowers, including in countries not experiencing banking crises. Our results document the ...
Serving the Underserved: Microcredit as a Pathway to Commercial Banks
A large-scale microcredit expansion program---together with a credit bureau accessible to all lenders---can enable unbanked borrowers to build a credit history, facilitating their transition to commercial banks. Loan-level data from Rwanda show the program improved access to credit and reduced poverty. A sizable share of first-time borrowers switched to commercial banks, which cream-skim less risky borrowers and grant them larger, cheaper, and longer-maturity loans. Switchers have lower default risk than non-switchers and are not riskier than other bank borrowers. Switchers also obtain better ...
Shock Transmission through Cross-Border Bank Lending: Credit and Real Effect
We study the transmission of financial sector shocks across borders through international bank connections. For this purpose, we use data on long-term interbank loans among more than 6,000 banks during 1997-2012 to construct a yearly global network of interbank exposures. We estimate the effect of direct (first-degree) and indirect (second-degree) exposures to countries experiencing systemic banking crises on bank profitability and loan supply. We find that direct exposures to crisis countries squeeze banks? profit margins, thereby reducing their returns. Indirect exposures to crisis ...
Bank Lending in the Knowledge Economy
We study the composition of bank loan portfolios during the transition of the real sector to a knowledge economy where firms increasingly use intangible capital. Exploiting heterogeneity in bank exposure to the compositional shift from tangible to intangible capital, we show that exposed banks curtail commercial lending and reallocate lending to other assets, such as mortgages. We estimate that the substantial growth in intangible capital since the mid-1980s explains around 30% of the secular decline in the share of commercial lending in banks' loan portfolios. We provide suggestive evidence ...
Financial Crises and the Composition of Cross-Border Lending
We examine the composition and drivers of cross-border bank lending between 1995 and 2012, distinguishing between syndicated and non-syndicated loans. We show that on-balance sheet syndicated loan exposures, which account for almost one third of total cross-border loan exposures, increased during the global financial crisis due to large drawdowns on credit lines extended before the crisis. Our empirical analysis of the drivers of cross-border loan exposures in a large bilateral dataset leads to three main results. First, banks with lower levels of capital favor syndicated over other kinds of ...
U.S. Zombie Firms: How Many and How Consequential?
The unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore concerns that cheap credit could fuel the financing of zombie firms—that is, firms that are unable to generate enough profits to cover debt-servicing costs and that need to borrow to stay alive. Many observers have recently commented that zombie firms may crowd out lending to productive firms and erode the strength of the U.S. economy.