Working Paper No. 617
By Matthieu Chavaz
Using exogenous variation in exposure to hurricanes, this article explores how differently diversified US banks lend during the protracted recovery from a major downturn. Compared to diversified banks, local banks (i) originate a higher share of new mortgage and small business loans in affected areas, but (ii) sell a higher share of the new mortgages into the secondary market. These results suggest a pattern of specialization, whereby loans in affected areas are increasingly originated by banks with special abilities or incentives to seize opportunities in a distressed market, but increasingly transferred to agents which can better support the associated risk.