Can Technology Undermine Macroprudential Regulation? Evidence from Peer-to-Peer Credit in China

Fabio et al. (2018) study whether and to what extent peer-to-peer (P2P) credit helps circumvent loan-to-value (LTV) caps, a key macroprudential tool to contain household leverage. They exploit the tightening of mortgage LTV caps in a number of cities in China in 2013 as the testing ground, in a difference-in-differences setting, and using data from, a leading Chinese P2P platform. P2P loans increase at the cities affected by the LTV cap tightening relative to the control cities, consistent with borrowers tapping P2P credit to circumvent the regulation.

The granularity of our data allows us to separate credit demand from credit supply effects, with a fixed effects strategy. The results also indicate that P2P lenders do not adjust their pricing and screening to the influx of new borrowers after 2013, despite the fact that their loans ex post have higher delinquency and default rates. Symmetric effects are associated with a loosening of mortgage LTV caps in 2015. The test provides empirical evidence on the capacity of P2P credit to undermine LTV caps. More broadly, the analysis informs the debate on the challenges posed by the interaction between FinTech and credit regulation.

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