I study the role of collateral on small business credit access in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. I construct a novel, loan-level dataset covering all collateralized small business lending in Texas from 2002-2016 and link it to the U.S. Census of Establishments. Using textual analysis, I quantify whether a lender is specialized in a borrower’s collateral by comparing the collateral pledged by the borrower to the lender’s collateral portfolio. I show that post-2008, lenders reduced credit supply by focusing on borrowers that pledged collateral in which the lender specialized. This result holds when comparing lending to the same borrower from different lenders, and when comparing lending by the same lender to different borrowers. A one standard deviation higher specialization in collateral increases lending to the same firm by 3.7%. Abstracting from general equilibrium effects, if firms switched to lenders with the highest specialization in their collateral, aggregate lending would increase by 14.8%. Furthermore, firms borrowing from lenders with greater specialization in the borrower’s collateral see a larger growth in employment after 2008. I identify the lender’s informational advantage in the posted collateral to be the mechanism driving lender specialization. Finally, I show that firms with collateral more frequently accepted by lenders in the economy find it easier to switch lenders. In sum, my paper shows that borrowing from specialized lenders increases access to credit and employment during a financial crisis.
Awards: Best PhD Student Paper, Young Scholars Finance Consortium
Presentations (including scheduled): University of Rochester (Simon), University of Florida (Warrington), Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller), University of Houston (Bauer), Southern Methodist University (Cox), Federal Rerserve Bank of New York, Indiana University (Kelley), Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Johns Hopkins University (Carey), Indian School of Business, Showcasing Women in Finance Conference (2020), Texas A&M Young Scholars Finance Consortium (2020)