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Direct bank ownership of company shares is believed to benefit borrowing companies in developed markets. However, little is known about how such bank relationship works in emerging markets, where the relative costs and benefits of such practice become less straightforward due to loose institutional background and weak governance. Utilizing novel data on bank equity ownership and board structure of listed companies in China, one of the leading emerging markets, the authors find that: 1. banks hold considerable shares of listed companies; 2. banks appoint board members through equity holdings; 3. bank ownership promotes company access to bank capital; 4. companies with banks as leading shareholders witness relatively poor operating performance. Such results are robust with alternative performance measures, industries, and sample periods.
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