255 - The crisis as a wake-up call. Do banks tighten screening and monitoring during a financial crisis?

DNB Working Papers
Date 5 August 2010

To what extent was the credit contraction during the global financial crisis due to more intense screening and monitoring by banks? We address this question by analyzing changes in the structure of a large number of syndicated loans to private, non-financial corporations. We find an increase in retention rates among syndicate arrangers during the crisis that we cannot explain by borrower risk or interbank liquidity alone. This increased ‘skin in the game’ is especially pronounced when information asymmetries between the borrower and the lending syndicate – or within the syndicate – are high. This indicates that the reduction in bank lending during the crisis was at least partly caused by stricter bank screening and monitoring: a wake-up call.

Keywords : bank lending, financial crisis, loan retention, screening and monitoring, syndication.

JEL Classification : D82, G15, G21.