Does Credit Supply Competition Affect Accounting Conservatism?

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This study investigates the relation between credit supply competition among banks and their clients’ conditional accounting conservatism (i.e., asymmetric timely loss recognition). The Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act (IBBEA)

This study investigates the relation between credit supply competition among banks and their clients’ conditional accounting conservatism (i.e., asymmetric timely loss recognition). The Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act (IBBEA) of 1994 permits banks and bank holding companies to expand their business across state lines, introducing a positive shock to credit supply competition in the banking industry. The increase in credit supply competition weakens banks’ bargaining power in the negotiation process, which in turn may weaken their ability to demand conservative financial reporting from borrowers. Consistent with this prediction, results show that firms report less conservatively after the IBBEA is passed in their headquartered states. The effect of the IBBEA on conditional conservatism is particularly stronger for firms in states with a greater increase in competition among banks, firms whose operations are more concentrated in their headquarter states, firms with greater financial constraints, and firms subject to less external monitoring. Robustness tests confirm that the observed decline in conditional conservatism is causally related to the passage of IBBEA. Overall, this study highlights the impact of credit supply competition on financial reporting practices.