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Atlanta Fed Working Papers

The Predictive Power of the Senior Loan Officer Survey: Do Lending Officers Know Anything Special?

Thomas J. Cunningham
Working Paper 2006-24
November 2006

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The answer to this question is yes, but not that much about banks. Every quarter the Federal Reserve System surveys a panel of senior loan officers at major banks across the nation. The results of this survey have been found in previous studies to provide useful information in predicting gross domestic product. This paper extends that work, finding that sector-specific survey results are relevant for predicting real activity in those sectors but, strangely, that the informative power of the survey results only marginally extend to various measures of performance in the banking sector.

JEL classification: E32, G29

Key words: lending officer survey, informational advantage

The author thanks Frode Brevid and the participants at the 2006 Western Economic Association meetings, Rosemary Cunningham, Shae Dunn, Mark Kovacic, and Will Roberds. The views expressed here are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the author’s responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Thomas J. Cunningham, Vice President and Associate Director of Research, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309-4470, 404-498-8776,

For further information, contact the Public Affairs Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30309-4470, 404-498-8020.