The Decline of Big-Bank Lending to Small Business: Dynamic Impacts on Local Credit and Labor Markets

by Brian S. Chen, Samuel G. Hanson, and Jeremy C. Stein

Overview — Between 2008 and 2014, the Top 4 banks sharply decreased their lending to small business. This paper examines the lasting economic consequences of this contraction, finding that a credit supply shock from a subset of lenders can have surprisingly long-lived effects on real activity.

Author Abstract

Small business lending by the four largest banks fell sharply relative to others in 2008 and remained depressed through 2014. We explore the dynamic adjustment process following this credit supply shock. In counties where the largest banks had a high market share, the aggregate flow of small business credit fell, interest rates rose, fewer businesses expanded, unemployment rose, and wages fell from 2006 to 2010. While the flow of credit recovered after 2010 as other lenders slowly filled the void, interest rates remain elevated. Although unemployment returns to normal by 2014, the effect on wages persists in these areas.

Paper Information

  • Full Working Paper Text
  • Working Paper Publication Date: September 2017
  • HBS Working Paper Number: NBER Working Paper Series, No. 23843
  • Faculty Unit(s): Finance