Behind every loan approval, there stands great information about a client!

Financial inclusion continues to be of central interest for policy makers and researchers. However, we all know less concerning the incentives of non-public sector participants for evolving financial inclusion. Think for example of business banks. When deciding whether or not to lend to a different customer, banks consider factors for example screening costs, the capability from the customer to pay back financing, or even the time banks expect the customer to stay a customer. This final consideration is especially essential for new borrowers, because the first loan provider will incur the price of creating their reliability.

Economists have typically presented this problem according to whether a customer will ultimately change to a competing loan provider (e.g., Petersen and Rajan 1995), however in principle the switch to a new loan provider could occur before the very first loan is disseminated. If competing lenders are more inclined to approve borrowers who’re already approved by other lenders, then your first loan provider that incurs the price of screening new borrowers might not reap the resulting benefits. That’s, if lenders free ride around the screening efforts of the competitors, the incentives is the first loan provider to screen a brand new customer (and also to advance financial inclusion) are reduced. In such instances, policy intervention could be a solution.

Inside a recent paper, we discover empirical evidence that free traveling in loan approvals truly does occur. We labored having a large Peruvian bank which was thinking about expanding credit use of medium and small-size enterprises (SMEs). Our partner bank conducted an airplane pilot to check a brand new screening technology to find out which SMEs to give loan to with different scoring rule having a strict threshold. Borrowers over the threshold were instantly granted financing, whereas borrowers underneath the threshold were offered financing only when financing officer considered it appropriate. Throughout the pilot, 1,883 SMEs requested a functional capital loan with this partner bank. Of those, 366 were considered thin-file applicants (with virtually no prior credit rating) during the time of their application, who’re particularly hard to screen because of the lack of knowledge in it. Exploiting the scoring rule threshold together with credit agency data from Equifax Peru on SME loans from controlled banking institutions, we document several findings.

While thin-file applicants who scored over the threshold were more prone to get a loan than individuals who scored below it, three-quarters from the additional loans were from competing banking institutions instead of our partner bank. Importantly, many of these borrowers never required a single loan from your partner bank. Since the only variations between borrowers on each side from the threshold were whether or not they were approved for a financial loan from your partner bank and also the resulting loans, this really is proof of free traveling in loan approvals (figure 1). Within the paper, we reveal that free traveling in loan approvals is greater in regions where our partner bank faces more competition. The pilot test brought to greater profits for competing banking institutions although not our partner bank.

Figure 1. Loan take-from thin-file applicants six several weeks after application for the loan

Note: Plots generated while using “rdplot” Stata command (Calonico, Cattaneo, and Titiunik 2014) for any bandwidth of 20 round the threshold, having a global polynomial of order one and 95 % confidence times for every bin. EFL Score = Continuous score from the new screening technology FI = lender.

What mechanisms might be behind the disposable traveling in loan approvals we observe?

Around the supply side, other lenders could use the borrowed funds approvals in our partner bank to update their very own loan approvals. This can be the situation if borrowers share your finance approval documents with competing lenders.

Around the demand side, borrowers who received financing approval from your partner bank might have updated their beliefs regarding their own credit history and redoubled their looking around efforts.

And just what mechanisms are we able to eliminate?

Around the supply side, we are able to exclude any mechanism that operates with the credit registry. Our findings derive from loan approvals, which aren’t recorded within the Peruvian credit registry.

Around the demand side, we are able to eliminate complementarities in borrowing, whereby a preliminary loan from your partner bank increases interest in credit using their company lenders. Within the data, very couple of borrowers within our sample who received loans from competing lenders first lent from your partner bank.

Taken together, our findings paint a stark picture. Although our partner bank incurred the expense from the novel screening technology, the advantages accrued largely to the competitors. The easy implication is the fact that banks may underinvest in expanding credit to underserved borrowers, as doing this entails a personal cost but creates a public good. This underinvestment may justify subsidies to personal sector efforts to grow financial inclusion.


Calonico, Sebastian, Matias D. Cattaneo, and Rocio Titiunik. 2014. “Robust Data-Driven Inference within the Regression-Discontinuity Design.” Stata Journal 14 (4): 909-46.

Petersen, Mitchel A., and Raghuram G. Rajan. 1995. “The Aftereffect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships.” Quarterly Journal of Financial aspects 2 (110): 407-43.

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