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Are the Borrowing Costs of Large Financial Firms Unusual?

Javed Ahmed (), Christopher Anderson and Rebecca Zarutskie ()
Additional contact information
Rebecca Zarutskie: Federal Reserve Board of Governors

No 15-10, Working Papers from Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury

Abstract: Expectations of government support for large financial firms are often based on their lower borrowing costs relative to smaller financial firms. However, large financial firms are not unique in this regard: larger firms enjoy lower borrowing costs in several industries. We show that size-related borrowing cost advantages are not unusually large in the financial industry, and spreads are actually more sensitive to borrower size in several nonfinancial industries. These size-related differences are not explained by differences in risk and are only partially explained by higher liquidity and recovery rates for larger borrowers. Our results suggest that estimates of implicit government guarantees for financial firms may overemphasize the relationship between size-related borrowing cost differentials and expected bailouts. Our analysis also suggests that in the period leading to the 2008-9 financial crisis, perceptions of reduced risk may have lowered borrowing costs for the financial industry as a whole.

Keywords: Too-big-to-fail; borrowing costs; large banks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 58 pages
Date: 2015-05-13
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https://financialresearch.gov/working-papers/files ... al-Firms-Unusual.pdf First version, 2015 (application/pdf)

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