Brown, Martin Kirschenmann, Karolin Ongena, Steven
Year of Publication:
Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 8
Motivated by current concerns over foreign currency exposures in emerging economies, we examine the currency denomination of business loans made in Bulgaria prior to the current crisis. We analyze information on the requested and granted currency for more than hundred thousand loans granted by one bank to sixty thousand different firms during the period 2003- 2007. This unique data set allows us to disentangle demand-side from supply-side determinants of foreign currency loans. We find that the bank in our sample often grants loans in foreign currency even when a firm requests a loan in local currency. The bank lends in foreign currency, not only to less risky firms, but also when the firm requested a large or long-term loan and after the bank itself received more funding in euro. These results suggest that foreign currency borrowing in Eastern Europe is not only be driven by borrowers who try to benefit from lower interest rates but may be partly supply-driven with banks hesitant to lend long-term in local currency and eager to match the currency structure of their assets and liabilities.