Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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The Determinants of Risk Premium: The Case of Bank Lines of Credit Granted to SMES
Vol. Volume 16 Number 4 December/2011

Josee St-Pierre Moujib Bahri
The goal of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the factors that determine the risk premium on bank lines of credit obtained by SMEs, and whether firm size, which may be used by banks to segment their client base, also has an impact on credit costs. An analysis of data from 406 SMEs in Canada showed the main determinants of risk premium were firm size, line of credit size, ability to repay, the relationship between banker and entrepreneur and the length of the relationship with the bank. These determinants change according to the market segment in which the potential borrower operates. Banks appear to use a transactional approach for smaller borrowers, where credit terms are based on quantitative financial data, and a relational approach for larger firms, where relationship length and quality become significant.

Keywords: Bank financing, Small business lending, Risk indicators