Banking Competition and Risk-Taking When Borrowers Care about Financial Prudence
Corporate borrowers care about the overall riskiness of a bank’s operations as their continued access to credit may rely on the bank’s ability to roll over loans or to expand existing credit facilities. As we show, a key implication of this observation is that increasing competition among banks should have an asymmetric impact on banks’ incentives to take on risk: Banks that are already riskier will take on yet more risk, while their safer rivals will become even more prudent. Our results offer new guidance for bank supervision in an increasingly competitive environment and may help to explain existing, ambiguous findings on the relationship between competition and risk-taking in banking. Furthermore, our results stress the beneficial role that competition can have for financial stability as it turns a bank’s "prudence" into an important competitive advantage.