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Credit spread determinants. How loan officer seniority matters

Marion Dupire, Frédéric Lobez and Jean-Christophe Statnik

Finance, 2021, vol. 42, issue 3, 139-179

Abstract: This paper investigates how the level of seniority of loan officers within the bank interacts with bank–firm relationship and business climate to shape credit spreads. Based on unique hand-collected data on loan applications from SMEs to a French cooperative bank between 1998 and 2009, the study suggests that 1) senior loan officers charge higher interest rates than less senior officers when the bank–firm relationship is stronger; 2a) during economic downturns, senior loan officers tend to increase more the credit rate than less senior loan officers, as they have a better perception of market power; while 2b) they tend to moderate their pricing policy when the business cycle is booming to keep their clients. Overall, our study highlights the crucial role of loan officer seniority in understanding bank credit rates.

Keywords: banks; loan officers; relationship lending; small business; credit spreads (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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