Is the Secondary Loan Market Valuable to Borrowers?

Document Type



Published by Elsevier in the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, volume 49 issue 4, 2009. Bryant users may access this article here.


Loan spreads; Bid-ask spreads; Liquidity; Secondary loan market




In recent years, the secondary loan market has developed into an over-the-counter market where loans are not only sold but also subsequently traded. This shift away from traditional banking is altering the business of lending. Loan sales are valuable to banks because they free up capital, generate fee-based income and facilitate risk management; but they may be costly to borrowers because they negatively affect bank monitoring incentives. In this paper, however, we argue that there is another potential benefit to borrowers from loan sales. Borrowers with trading loans, in particular those with liquid loans, may “demand” a share of bank benefits from loan sales when they take out new loans as it will be easier for banks to sell these loans afterwards. We investigate this potential benefit of the secondary loan market by comparing the interest rates borrowers pay before their loans start to trade with the interest rates they pay on loans originated post-trading. Our results show that, on average, borrowers pay higher spreads on the loans they take out after the onset of trading on their loans. Importantly, our results also show that borrowers with liquid trading loans are able to borrow at lower interest rates after the onset of trading on their loans. Thus, while the banks’ decision to sell loans may initially impose a cost on borrowers, those whose loans enter the secondary loan market and become liquid benefit from an interest rate discount on their subsequent loans.