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How Do Lead Banks Use Their Private Information about Loan Quality in the Syndicated Loan Market?

Little is known about how lead banks in the syndicated loan market use their private information about loan quality. We formulate and test two hypotheses, the Signaling Hypothesis and Sophisticated Syndicate Hypothesis. To measure private information, we use Shared National Credit (SNC) internal loan ratings, which we make comparable across banks using concordance tables. We find that favorable private information is associated with higher loan retention by lead banks for term loans, consistent with empirical domination of the Signaling Hypothesis, while neither hypothesis dominates for revolvers. Differences in syndicate structure at least partially explain this disparity.

JEL classification: G21, G28.
Keywords: lead bank, private information, loan sales, syndication.

Suggested citation: Balasubramanyan, Lakshmi, Allen N. Berger, Christa H.S. Bouwman, and Matthew M. Koepke, 2016. “How Do Lead Banks Use Their Private Information about Loan Quality in the Syndicated Loan Market?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Paper, no. 16-16.

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