Small Business Economics

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 899–910

Relationship banking and escalating commitments to bad loans


    • Division of Strategy, Management & Organization, Nanyang Business SchoolNanyang Technological University
  • Asghar Zardkoohi
    • Department of ManagementTexas A&M University
  • Ramona L. Paetzold
    • Department of ManagementTexas A&M University
  • Donald Fraser
    • Department of FinanceTexas A&M University

DOI: 10.1007/s11187-011-9392-x

Cite this article as:
Kang, E., Zardkoohi, A., Paetzold, R.L. et al. Small Bus Econ (2013) 40: 899. doi:10.1007/s11187-011-9392-x


The relationship banking literature suggests that business relationships play an important role in the loan decisions of small banks. We test one aspect of this hypothesis using a cross-sectional panel dataset of small banks located in Texas from 1994 to 2002. Our results suggest that small banks located in smaller counties escalate their commitment to bad loans when compared with those located in larger counties, even after controlling for psychological and social factors that influence escalation tendencies. These results highlight the need for small banks to trade-off the positive benefits of adopting a relationship banking strategy against its unintended negative consequence. We provide some suggestions on how small banks may lessen their escalation tendencies despite adopting a relationship banking strategy. The results of this study also suggest that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that develop strong relational bonds with small banks may benefit from continued access to credit facilities, especially during periods when they experience financial distress.


Relationship bankingEscalation of commitmentRural sociologyCounty population

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011