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[Journal:] Cogent Business & Management [ISSN:] 2331-1975 [Volume:] 3 [Publisher:] Taylor & Francis [Place:] Abingdon [Year:] 2016
Taylor & Francis, Abingdon
According to the current paradigm of relationship lending in small business lending, loan officers produce soft information about their small- and medium-sized enterprises borrowers. We examine this common assumption by directly measuring soft information and testing how can loan officer accumulate this type of information. We used a data-set on Tunisian small businesses via a specially designed questionnaire addressed to loan officers and a data based on lines of credit files. We find that on balance loan officers play an important role in producing soft information. In fact, the specificity of loan officer, direct contact with the manager, and regular visit to the firm contribute to more information production, while frequent loan officer turnover hinders this mission. To further pursue the validity of our empirical methodology, we test whether the production of soft information by loan officers benefits borrowers. Our results confirm that besides soft information, audited financial statements improve loan contract terms while public banks are more devoted to relax financing constraints.
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