We hypothesize that informal bank networks influence corporate credit access in China. Our sample comprises a panel of 515 corporations listed on China's stock exchanges with a total of 1,052 firm-year observations, holding a total of 7,009 major bank loans from 183 distinct banks between 2007 and 2012. Results support the hypothesis that closure in bank networks facilitates credit access. We further show that the positive closure-performance association offers fewer advantages if financial markets and the legal infrastructure are relatively well developed. Our findings contribute to an emergent literature examining how informal networks can productively substitute weak formal institutions, and how the interplay between informal networks and network embeddedness shapes individual and corporate strategies.