We compare two groups of observationally equivalent borrowers who took identical unsecured 36-month loans; for only one of the groups, a 60-month loan was also available. When a long-maturity option is available, fewer borrowers take the short-term loan, and those who do default less. Additional findings suggest borrowers self-select on private information about their future ability to repay.
Screening on Loan Terms: Evidence from Maturity Choice in Consumer Credit
WP 18-05 - We exploit a natural experiment in the largest online consumer lending platform to provide the first evidence that loan terms, in particular maturity choice, can be used to screen borrowers based on their private information.