Board quality and the cost of debt capital: the case of bank loans
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We analyze the relation between comprehensive measures of board quality and the cost as well as the non-price terms of bank loans. We show that firms that have higher quality boards with a greater advisory presence borrow at lower interest rates. This relation exists even after controlling for ownership structure, CEO compensation policy, and shareholder protection, as well as the size and financial characteristics of the borrower and of the loan. We also show evidence that board quality and other governance characteristics influence the likelihood that loans have covenant requirements, but the relations differ by covenant type. When we combine the direct and indirect costs of bank loans we find that firms with large, independent, experienced, and diverse boards and lower institutional ownership borrow more cheaply. Overall, the evidence indicates that board quality impacts the cost of bank debt.