Andrew Sutherland, ’13: 00:09
In accounting, there's tons and tons of research on these big public firms that have an army of investor relations people and they constant disclosing things. That's where most of the research was happening, but there's this whole other half of the economy, these private firms, that we didn't really know a lot about. We didn't know a lot about how they got credit. What was interesting to me is that a lot of time, firms are able to get credit without even providing any financial statements or any information whatsoever to the bank. The reason they're able to get credit is that they have a credit score. So in other words, the information is coming, not from the form itself, but from another bank who had dealt with them in the past. What really struck me was there wasn't really a lot of research out there on this information channel. That's when I decided I wanted to learn a little bit more about what this reporting channel does to contract and help firms get credit and how it changes banks' incentives to lend.
Andrew Sutherland, ’13: 01:01
Basically, the firms that have a good credit record or a long track record of borrowing successfully were the ones that were able to shop around. We would think that's a good thing, that giving firms more choice about who to borrow from kind of increases social welfare, you get better matching between lenders and firms. Kind of the dark side is that the firms that have had payment trouble that have defaulted or missed some payments on loans sort of get shut out of the credit part. You have a harder time starting any new relationships with outside lenders. That's kind of a cost.
Andrew Sutherland, ’13: 01:34
The second cost is that information sharing changes the game for lenders. So, if participating in this credit bureau basically allows outside lenders to pick off the firms that are doing better, then that destroys the incentive for lenders to kind of invest in relationships to begin with. That's sort of the second dark side of information sharing, if you will.
Andrew Sutherland, ’13: 01:54
So, I coauthor on a number of projects with the junior faculty member here named Mike Minnis. I probably talked to Mike more than I talk to my wife. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But, I mean, as a PhD student, there's only so much you can learn in class, and having a faculty member to work with that's kind of gone through the ropes and understands the review process, that's done something on their own, it gives you a really good opportunity to learn. That's something, I think that was absolutely instrumental in my success