Universität Bonn

Department of Economics

Dominik Supera - Columbia Business School

Running Out of Time (Deposits): Falling Interest Rates and the Decline of Business Lending, Investment and Firm Creation 


I show that the long-term decrease in the nominal short rate since the 1980s contributed to a decline in banks' supply of business loans, firm investment and new firm creation, and an increase in banks' real estate lending. The driving force behind these relationships was the shift in banks’ funding mix from time deposits (CDs) to savings deposits, which was caused by the decrease in the nominal rate. I show that banks finance business lending with time deposits because of their matching interest-rate sensitivity and liquidity. A lower nominal rate reduces the spread on liquid deposits (e.g., savings deposits), leading households to substitute towards them and away from illiquid time deposits. In response to an outflow of time deposits, banks cut the supply of business loans and increase their price. The decrease in business lending leads to reduced investment at bank-dependent firms and a lower entry rate of firms in industries that are highly reliant on external funding. I document these relationships both in the aggregate, and in the cross-section of banks, firms and geographic areas. For identification, I exploit cross-sectional variation in banks' market power and business credit data. I develop a general equilibrium model which captures these relationships and shows that the transmission mechanism I document is quantitatively important.

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