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What is migration analysis? How do FIs use it to measure credit risk concentration? What are its shortcomings?



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What is migration analysis? How do FIs use it to measure credit risk concentration? What are its shortcomings?

Migration analysis uses information from the market to determine the credit risk of an individual loan or sectoral loans. For example, bankers can use S&P and Moody’s ratings to determine whether firms in a particular sector are experiencing repayment problems. This information can be used to either curtail lending in that sector or to reduce maturity and/or increase interest rates. A problem with migration analysis is that the information may be too late, because ratings agencies usually downgrade issues only after the firm or industry has experienced a downturn.




  1. What does loan concentration risk mean?

Loan concentration risk refers to the extra risk borne by having too many loans concentrated with one firm, industry, or economic sector. To the extent that a portfolio of loans represents loans made to a diverse cross section of the economy, concentration risk is minimized.




  1. A manager decides not to lend to any firm in sectors that generate losses in excess of 5 percent of equity.

a. If the average historical losses in the automobile sector total 8 percent, what is the maximum loan a manager can lend to a firm in this sector as a percentage of total capital?


Maximum limit = (Maximum loss as a percent of capital) x (1/Loss rate) = .05 x 1/0.08

= 62.5 percent is the maximum limit that can be lent to a firm in the automobile sector.


b. If the average historical losses in the mining sector total 15 percent, what is the maximum loan a manager can lend to a firm in this sector as a percentage of total capital?
Maximum limit = (Maximum loss as a percent of capital) x (1/Loss rate) = .05 x 1/0.15

= 33.3 percent is the maximum limit that can be lent to a firm in the mining sector.

5. An FI has set a maximum loss of 12 percent of total capital as a basis for setting concentration limits on loans to individual firms. If it has set a concentration limit of 25 percent to a firm, what is the expected loss rate for that firm?
Maximum limit = (Maximum loss as a percent of capital) x (1/Loss rate)

25 percent = 12 percent x 1/Loss rate  Loss rate = 0.12/0.25 = 48 percent


6. Explain how modern portfolio theory can be applied to lower the credit risk of an FI’s portfolio.
Modern portfolio theory has demonstrated that a well-diversified portfolio can provide opportunities for individuals to invest in a set of efficient frontier portfolios, defined as those portfolios that provide the maximum returns for a given level of risk or the lowest risk for a given level of returns. By choosing portfolios on the efficient frontier, a banker may be able to reduce credit risk to the fullest extent. As shown in Figure 11.1, a manager’s selection of a particular portfolio on the efficient frontier is determined by his or her risk-return trade-off.
7. The Bank of Tinytown has two $20,000 loans that have the following characteristics: Loan A has an expected return of 10 percent and a standard deviation of returns of 10 percent. The expected return and standard deviation of returns for loan B are 12 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
a. If the covariance between A and B is .015 (1.5 percent), what are the expected return and standard deviation of this portfolio?
Expected return = 0.5(10%) + 0.5(12%) = 11 percent

Standard deviation = [0.52(0.102) + 0.52(0.202) + 2(0.5)(0.5)(0.015)]½ = 14.14 percent


b. What is the standard deviation of the portfolio if the covariance is -.015 (-1.5 percent)?
Standard deviation = [0.52(0.102) + 0.52(0.202) + 2(0.5)(0.5)(-0.015)]½ = 7.07 percent
c. What role does the covariance, or correlation, play in the risk reduction attributes of modern portfolio theory?
The risk of the portfolio as measured by the standard deviation is reduced when the covariance is reduced. If the correlation is less than +1.0, the standard deviation of the portfolio always will be less than the weighted average standard deviations of the individual assets.
8. Why is it difficult for small banks and thrifts to measure credit risk using modern portfolio theory?
The basic premise behind modern portfolio theory is the ability to diversify and reduce risk by eliminating diversifiable risk. Small banks and thrifts may not have the ability to diversify their asset base, especially if the local markets in which they serve have a limited number of industries. The ability to diversify is even more acute if these loans cannot be traded easily.
9. What is the minimum risk portfolio? Why is this portfolio usually not the portfolio chosen by FIs to optimize the return-risk tradeoff?
The minimum risk portfolio is the combination of assets that reduces the portfolio risk as measured by the standard deviation or variance of returns to the lowest possible level. This portfolio usually is not the optimal portfolio choice because the returns on this portfolio are very low relative to other alternative portfolio selections. By accepting some additional risk, portfolio managers are able to realize a higher level of return relative to the risk of the portfolio.
10. The obvious benefit to holding a diversified portfolio of loans is to spread risk exposures so that a single event does not result in a great loss to the bank. Are there any benefits to not being diversified?
One benefit to not being diversified is that a bank that lends to a certain industrial or geographic sector is likely to gain expertise about that sector. Being diversified requires that the bank becomes familiar with many more areas of business. This may not always be possible, particularly for small banks.
11. A bank vice president is attempting to rank, in terms of the risk-reward trade-off, the loan portfolios of three loan officers. How would you rank the three portfolios? The portfolios have the following information:


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