Internal ratings systems, implied credit risk and the consistency of banks' risk classification policies

T. Jacobson, J. Lindé, K. Roszbach

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

36 Citaten (Scopus)


This paper aims at improving our understanding of internal risk rating systems (IRS) at large banks, of the way in which they are implemented, and at verifying if IRS produce consistent estimates of banks’ loan portfolio credit risk. An important property of our work is that the size of our data set allows us to derive measures of credit risk without making any assumptions about correlations between loans, by applying Carey’s [Carey, Mark, 1998. Credit risk in private debt portfolios. Journal of Finance LIII (4), 1363–1387] non-parametric Monte Carlo re-sampling method.

We find substantial differences between the implied loss distributions of two banks with equal “regulatory” risk profiles; both expected losses and the credit loss rates at a wide range of loss distribution percentiles vary considerably. Such variation will translate into different levels of required economic capital. Our results also confirm the quantitative importance of size for portfolio credit risk: for common parameter values, we find that tail risk can be reduced by up to 40% by doubling portfolio size.

Our analysis makes clear that not only the formal design of a rating system, but also the way in which it is implemented (e.g. a rating grade composition; the degree of homogeneity within rating classes) can be quantitatively important for the shape of credit loss distributions and thus for banks’ required capital structure. The evidence of differences between lenders also hints at the presence of differentiated market equilibria, that are more complex than might otherwise be supposed: different lending or risk management “styles” may emerge and banks strike their own balance between risk-taking and (the cost of) monitoring (that risk).
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1899-1926
Aantal pagina's28
TijdschriftJournal of Banking & Finance
Nummer van het tijdschrift7
StatusPublished - 2006
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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