Bank Competition, Lending Relationships and Firm Default Risk : An Investigation of Italian SMEs
Agostino, Maria Rosaria
Building on the literature relating to bank market structure and on the research analysing costs and benefits of concentrated credit relationships, this article aims to empirically assess whether, and to what extent, local credit market concentration impacts on SME default riskiness – making this impact conditional on the closeness of lending relationships. Controlling for inertia, unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity, we find that bank market concentration positively and significantly affects SME default riskiness when these firms borrow heavily from their main bank and have few credit relationships with other intermediaries. Furthermore, according to our evidence, the influence of credit market concentration on firm default probability is greater as the duration of (close) credit relationships lengthens.