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Heitor Almeida

1 August 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1702
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Abstract
We study how the consequences of violations of covenants associated with bank lines of credit to firms vary with the financial health of lenders. Following a violation banks restrict usage of lines of credit by raising spreads, shortening maturities, tightening covenants, or cancelling the line or reducing its size. Even though the frequency of covenant violations is fairly stable during the period 2002-2011, the reaction of banks to violations became significantly more restrictive during the recent crisis. Banks in worse financial health are more likely to restrict access to credit lines following a violation, and violations driven by lender health have capital structure and real implications for firms. This behavior is at the heart of a new bank liquidity channel. This channel complements the traditional bank lending channel, which focuses on small financially constrained firms, because credit lines are commonly used by large, high credit quality firms to provide insurance against loss of access to external finance.
JEL Code
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G31 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Capital Budgeting, Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies, Capacity
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
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