As small banks get gobbled up by big banks, the organizational practice favors lending to major corporations that can supply reams of hard data, new research from the Kellogg School finds. The owners of a corner laundromat may only be able to provide "soft information," such as their reputation for honesty, but that can be just as useful. The researchers suggest that the bank employees who collect this information should be the ones to make the lending decisions because they're in the best position to judge the intangible qualities of the loan applicants they've met.

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