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Universal Banking, Corporate Control and Crises (Universal Banking)
Start date: Mar 1, 2013, End date: Feb 28, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Financial intermediaries play a vital role in providing capital to corporations. The 2007-2009 financial crisis had dramatic consequences on the organization of the financial system that led to the rise of universal banking and financial conglomerates. Financial conglomerates have been common in Europe, but the recent developments have eroded the separation of commercial and investment banking elsewhere. Financial conglomerates act as lenders but also underwrite and trade securities, have equity stakes and sit on the board of corporations, and manage mutual and pension funds that invest in corporations. These forms of corporate control by financial conglomerates are distinct in their incentives and costs and therefore can have distinct effects on non-financial corporations. We will study the effect of control by financial conglomerates on corporation’s performance, investment, financing, and corporate governance policies. A particular relevant channel through which financial conglomerates can affect firm’s policies is the credit channel. Firms establish relationships with financial conglomerates that give easier access to credit and potentially at a lower cost due to economies of scale in information collection and monitoring. There may be, however, costs to firms with a close relationship with a financial conglomerate as firms may be locked up due to an information monopoly. We will study the effects of bank-firm relationships on the loan market. In particular, we will examine the importance of these relationships for explaining differences in the cost of bank distress across firms. The hypothesis is that strong ties with banks reduce firms’ ability to substitute relationship bank loans with other sources of external finance, and therefore firms with stronger relationships could experience greater costs during financial crises. We will contribute to the understanding the consequences of shocks to the financial health of banks for nonfinancial firms.
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