Demographic change influences the structure of the entrepreneurially active population, which may affect credit risk and financing conditions of small firms. Using bank internal data of small business loans in Germany, we find that the lending relationship plays a larger role for loan prices than demographics. Loan rates decrease with soft information gained through longer loan processing time and a larger number of accounts at the same bank. They increase with hard information about repayment arrears and reminders. Late payments have the largest influence on loan prices. Older entrepreneurs do not seem to be discriminated. Rather, the younger have to pay more because their loans and businesses are smaller and they lack liquidity to pay in time. Marital status and population density of the business district do not matter. This is good news for aging economies with a rising share of elderly and singles and growing disparities between peripheral and agglomerated regions.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 24, 2014
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