General-purpose financial statements prepared under GAAP are for a consolidated reporting entity—a collection of legal entities that includes the parent and any subsidiaries it controls. This reporting model results in a loss of information about the individual legal entities within the consolidated reporting entity. Our study examines the role of parent-only balance sheet information in assessing the credit risk of the parent when it is a bank holding company. We obtain evidence from three trading platforms: credit default swaps (CDS), outstanding bonds, and new bonds. We find that parent-only leverage is useful for debtholders to assess the parent’s credit risk even after considering consolidated leverage. Moreover, in CDS markets, parent-only leverage is more useful for firms without downstream guarantee than for firms with guarantee and is less useful for firms with a stronger internal capital market. Our study raises the awareness of parent-only financial information for credit risk assessments.
Data Availability: All data are available from the identified public sources.
JEL Classifications: M2; M4; G3.