Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on bank lending in the German banking system-An actor-network study

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Economic crises have always been a major concern in society. Especially banks are often impacted by economic crises to a large extent since they present the main institution in times of economic uncertainty. Recently, another economic crisis took place with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Banks became one of the major participants again in solving the issues resulting from the crisis. This qualitative research examines how the pandemic impacts bank lending in the German banking system. It does so by taking an actor-network theory approach, which allows providing insights into the interplay of human and non-human entities in the formation of networks. The results show that because the pandemic, as well as the programs introduced to cope with the pandemic, are able to establish themselves as obligatory passing points the banking professionals have to pass. This means that the banking professionals need to interact with the system in order to achieve their goal of helping their clients. A frame is established that affects the banking professionals as they cannot escape the frame when they want to pursue their goal, even at the cost of potential long-term drawbacks. The common goal creates a strong connection with the banking professionals which makes them keep connecting with the system.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen