Abstract - Credit Registries, Relationship Banking and Loan Repayment (with M. Brown)
This paper examines the impact of a public credit registry on the repayment behavior of borrowers. We implement an experimental credit market in which loan repayment is not third-party enforceable. We compare market outcome with a credit registry to that without a credit registry. This experiment is conducted for two market environments: first a market in which interactions between borrowers and lenders are one-off and, second, a market in which borrowers and lenders can choose to trade repeatedly with each other. In the market with one-off interactions the credit market collapses without a credit registry as lenders rightly fear that borrowers will default. The introduction of a registry in this environment significantly raises repayment rates and the credit volume extended by lenders. In the market where repeat transactions are possible a credit registry is not necessary to sustain high market performance. In such an environment relationship banking enforces
repayment even when lenders cannot share information, so that there is little value added of a public credit registry.