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

We formulate and test two opposing hypotheses about how lead banks in the syndicated loan market use private information about loan quality, the Signaling Hypothesis and Sophisticated Syndicate Hypothesis. We use Shared National Credit (SNC) internal loan ratings made comparable using concordance tables to measure private information. We find favorable private information is associated with higher lead bank loan retention and lower interest rate spreads for pure term loans, ceteris paribus, supporting the Signaling Hypothesis. Neither hypothesis dominates for pure revolvers. The data partially support two conjectures about the circumstances under which the two hypotheses are more likely to hold.

JEL codes: G21, G28.
Keywords: Lead bank, private information, loan sales, syndication.

Suggested citation:Balasubramanyan, Lakshmi, Allen N. Berger, 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. 16-16R2.

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