“Information From Relationship Lending: Evidence From Loan Defaults in China” by Chun CHANG
China Europe International Business School
Renmin University of China
Central University of Finance and Ecnomics
Indiana University and Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance
We study the economic role of banks' soft information, which evolved from repeated lending relationships, in predicting loan default. Using a proprietary database from one of the largest stateowned commercial banks in China, we find that the bank's internal credit rating scores play a significant role in default prediction. While the internal credit rating incorporates firm-specific hard information such as financial ratios, it is the soft information component of these ratings that contributes to the improvement in assessing credit quality. More importantly, the relative importance of soft information over hard information depends on the depth of the lending relationship. When evaluating loan delinquency, a sustained lending relationship allows soft information to substitute for, rather than complement, the role of hard information, especially hard information that is subject to easy manipulation.