This paper examines the influence of bank branch deregulation on corporate borrowers’ stock price crash risk. Using a large sample of U.S. public firms over the period 1962–2001, we provide robust evidence that intrastate branch reform contributes to the reduction of firms’ stock price crash risk. Further analysis shows that the negative relation between bank branch deregulation and crash risk is more pronounced among firms that are more dependent on external finance and lending relationships, as well as firms that have weaker corporate governance and greater financial constraints. Our findings are consistent with the notion that bank branch reform improves bank monitoring efficiency, thereby reducing borrowing firms’ bad news formation and hoarding, and hence their stock price crash risk. Overall, our empirical evidence suggests that, as a reform aimed at removing restrictions on bank branch expansion, bank deregulation also helps protect shareholders’ wealth.
- Bank deregulation
- Stock price crash risk
- External financial dependence
- Lending relationship