- Nice to Be on the A-List
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- Center on Japanese Economy and Business
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- Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers
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- This study addresses an important shortcoming of most of the existing literature on credit availability by including a set of unlisted firms (which are the firms most likely to be bank dependent) in the analysis, and by investigating differences between the treatment of listed and unlisted firms by their lenders. We find evidence consistent with evergreening behavior by banks toward listed firms, consistent with prior studies. However, the more striking result is that banks appear to treat the smaller, unlisted firms differently, being much less willing to engage in evergreening behavior for these borrowers. The difference in treatment of unlisted firms relative to listed firms does not appear to be related to systematic differences in size between the two groups of firms. Thus, it appears that the distinguishing characteristic that determines whether a bank might evergreen loans to a firm is whether or not the firm is listed. Furthermore, this effect appears to be stronger for those firms listed on the more prestigious Tokyo Stock Exchange compared to firms listed on other exchanges; that is, being on the list (being listed) matters, and being on the A-list matters even more. Moreover, among listed firms, for which data on ownership by banks are available, a higher concentration of ownership of the firm by either the main bank or the firm’s top three lenders increases the likelihood of the firm obtaining increased loans, suggesting that bank ownership of the firm stimulates evergreening behavior to a greater degree.
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