We document three facts about nonbank lending in the syndicated loan market. First, nonbank lending is more than twice as cyclical as bank lending. Second, declines in nonbank lending explain most of the declines in syndicated lending during the Great Recession and COVID-19 crisis. Third, cyclicality in nonbank lending is matched by cyclicality in nonbank funding flows. The higher nonbank cyclicality is not explained by either the health or monitoring ability of banks, nor by bank-borrower relationships. Instead, it appears to be driven by nonbank funding instability. We highlight frictions in CLOs and mutual funds that contribute to this instability.
We make use of Shared National Credit Program (SNC) data to examine syndicated loans in which the lead arranger retains no stake. We find that the lead arranger sells its entire loan share for 27 percent of term loans and 48 percent of Term B loans, typically shortly after syndication. In contrast to existing asymmetric information theories on the role of the lead share, we find that loans that are sold are less likely to become non-performing in the future. This result is robust to several different measures of loan performance and is reflected in subsequent secondary market prices. We explore syndicated loan underwriting risk as an alternative theory that may help explain this result.