Corporate Bondholder Reactions to Bank Loan Covenant Violations and the Evolution of Bank Loan Covenants

Yuqian Wang, Che-Wei Chiu, Shu-Ling Wu


This paper examines firms’ corporate bond price reactions to bank loan covenant violations. Using an event study approach, we find that firms’ bond price response is marginally negative in the 1990s and becomes significantly positive in the 2000s. The positive bond price reactions suggest bondholders benefit from bank loan covenant violations in more recent years. Specifically, bank loan covenant violations enable banks to step in and take necessary actions to protect creditors’ interests, which benefit not only private lenders but also public corporate bondholders. In addition, the temporal change in bond price response suggests the disciplining role of bank loan covenants becomes increasingly important in recent years: banks gradually take debt covenants as “trip wires”, which give banks an option to take necessary actions when the early warning signal shows up through covenant violations. Furthermore, we find that bondholders and stockholder reactions are positively correlated in recent years, and that managerial entrenchment could decrease banks’ influence after violations.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Yuqian Wang, Che-Wei Chiu, Shu-Ling Wu

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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