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The Economics of the Bank and of
the Loan Book
Moody’s|KMV Economics of the Bank and of the Loan Book
COPYRIGHT 2002, KMV LLC, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA. All rights
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Published by: Author(s):
Moody’s|KMV Stephen Kealhofer 1620 Montgomery Street, Suite 140 San Francisco, CA 94111 U.S.A.
Phone: +1 415-296-9669 FAX: +1 415-296-9458 email: email@example.com website: http: // www.kmv.com ii Released: 1-May -2002 Moody’s|KMV Economics of the Bank and of the Loan Book Table of Contents Introduction
Franchise and Portfolio
Valuing the Loan: Internal Versus External Benchmarks
Marking the Credit Book to Market
Valuing Credit Risk
Evaluating Optionality and Other Loan Features
The Prepayment Option
The Usage Option
iii Released: 1-May -2002 Moody’s|KMV Economics of the Bank and of the Loan Book Introduction Over the last decade there have been two major developments in commercial banking: the rapid growth of primary and secondary markets for trading credit risk, and active portfolio management of the bank’s loan book. These developments coincide with a long-term change in the perception of the economics of commercial banking. Banks were once viewed as originating relatively safe assets, and earning money by the difference between their short term funding rate and their lending rates. Earnings came from assets. The bank and the portfolio were largely indistinguishable from each other.
Today, banks are viewed as originating riskier assets. Their funding rates are competitive market rates. The differences between funding and lending rates are mostly viewed as compensation for risk. Earnings are primarily generated by activities that explicitly or implicitly earn fees. The portfolio is viewed as a tool to support the bank’s activities.
In this new view, banks earn money from loans by their underwriting or distribution activities. These earnings are represented by the difference in value between the funds lent and the claim created on the borrower. Those earnings can be achieved immediately, via selling the loan, or subsequently, by holding the loan until it matures. However, in the latter case, it is difficult to separate from the subsequent cash flows which ones represent the earnings to underwriting and which the earnings to the portfolio itself.
This problem has been partially addressed by RAROC models. The underlying intent of such models was to determine the profitability of a loan at the time of origination.
However, the definition of profitability was based upon meeting internal hurdle rate returns for capital, without regard for whether the capital was deployed against the portfolio or against the non-portfolio activities of the bank.
It is now better understood that the profitability of a loan can be measured more accurately and more straightforwardly by decomposing the performance of the loan into two parts, one attributable to the underwriting activity, and one attributable to the subsequent performance of the loan. The underwriter’s revenue is determined as the difference between the funds extended and the value of the loan held by the bank. The value of the loan is based primarily upon external market valuations of similar instruments, adjusted to reflect the particular characteristics of the loan. The underwriter’s profitability is this revenue, minus the costs of the underwriting operation.
The second aspect of loan profitability is due to portfolio management. Subsequent to origination, the loan will change in value as external market values change, and as the credit quality of the borrower changes. These changes produce the performance of the portfolio.
The appropriate standard for evaluating the profitability of the portfolio is relative to the performance of a well-constructed portfolio formed from the same universe of potential assets.
This “micro” decomposition of profitability for a single loan can be extended to a “macro” decomposition of the bank as a whole, by separating the portfolio and portfolio
management activities of the bank from the underwriting and non-portfolio services of the bank. This decomposition is very useful in understanding bank performance, as these two parts of the bank have very different characteristics and capital structures.
The remainder of this paper explores the issues raised above. The first part goes into greater detail on the “macro” decomposition of the bank into “portfolio” and “franchise”. The second part looks at the decomposition of loan revenue into “underwriting” and “portfolio” components, and their relationship to RAROC measures, with a discussion on loan valuation approaches. The third part explores the meaning of “mark to market” in the context of the credit portfolio. A brief summary concludes the paper.
A lengthy appendix addresses technical issues around actual loan valuation. The primary motive is to exposit the existing state of the art and, thus, to establish the feasibility of the approaches described in the paper.
Franchise and Portfolio Consider the balance sheet of a large bank, from the standpoint of accounting. Most of the assets on the balance sheet are financial claims, with a relatively small amount of depreciated real assets, as well as intangibles such as goodwill. In this perspective, the portfolio is the dominant aspect of the bank, and the implication is that bank performance flows primarily from portfolio performance.
If we contrast this accounting view with a market value based perspective, the resulting picture of the bank looks different in some significant ways. To get the market view, we need an alternative way to look at the bank’s assets. We can achieve this by shifting our focus from the asset side of the balance sheet to the liability side. The market value of the bank’s liabilities must equal the market value of the bank’s assets; if we owned all the liabilities, we would have an unencumbered claim on all of the bank’s assets.
We can get a decent approximation to this market view if we take the bank’s liabilities to have market values close to their book values, except for the equity, where we can substitute the market value for the book value. When we do this, we discover that many banks have assets whose book value is considerably less than their market value.
Which assets on the balance sheet are the ones that are worth more than their book values?
If we look at the loan book, it would be surprising if it were worth much in excess of its book value. Most individual loan values do not exceed par, and those that do, do so only by a small amount.
The missing market value is attributable to the bank’s non-portfolio business activities. We call this the “franchise”. The franchise is a large, somewhat diversified service business. It represents the underwriting, distribution, fee services, and retail distribution activities of the bank. It is the business we would see if the bank did not retain any of the loans it originated.
The following chart illustrates this decomposition for a generic large bank in the United States. The market values are shown to the left of the each of the accounting balance sheets.
The balance sheet has been decomposed simply by putting all the financial claims into the portfolio, and allocating an appropriate mixture of debt and equity funding against those portfolio assets. The remainder of the assets is assigned to the franchise, along with the remainder of the liabilities and equity.
The market value decomposition is obtained simply by assuming that the portfolio’s market value equals its book value, and assigning the remainder of the book value to the franchise.
Although an approximation, this gives a good idea of the appropriate magnitudes.
Note that the franchise is worth close to $100 billion. Most large bank franchises have market values in the range of $30 billion to $100 billion. These are very large service businesses.
The same decomposition could be applied to a large investment bank, or to a large universal bank, with similar conclusions.
What else do we know about these two parts of the bank? In general, the portfolio has very little risk. For most banks, on a funded basis, the portfolio volatility is about 2% or less per annum. In other words, a one standard deviation move in the value of the portfolio, over a year, would be about 2%. The distribution of outcomes is not symmetric; the possibility of a large down move is economically significant, whereas large up moves are essentially impossible.
The risk of the portfolio can be determined very precisely by a detailed analysis of the portfolio, taking into account the risk of each individual asset, as well as the interrelationships of those risks.
The low volatility means that considerable leverage can be used to finance these assets, and leverage in excess of 90% is common.
The franchise has quite different characteristics. As a service business, it has approximately symmetric upside and downside risks. The risks cannot be readily ascertained from a micro analysis of the component businesses, but can only be approximately measured in the aggregate. Our best estimate of the volatility of the franchise is around 30% per annum for commercial banks and somewhat higher for investment banks. To get some idea of the significance of these values, we can contrast them with the typical volatilities that we observe for businesses of the same size in other industries. In the chart below, the smooth line represents the typical volatility as function of size for other industries; the points represent the values for commercial and investment banks.
For commercial banks, their volatility is consistent with equally large stand-alone nonfinancial business service companies. For investment banks, this volatility lies between those of business service companies and technology companies like software firms. In both cases, these volatilities are above average considering all firms of similar size.
If we look at the capital structure on a market value basis, we discover that unlike the portfolio, the franchise is largely unleveraged, with 20% leverage or less being typical. This is consistent with the relatively high risk profile of the franchise.
The upside potential of the bank resides almost entirely in the franchise. A bank creates franchise value when it figures out how to intermediate more efficiently and build scale as a result. For example, streamlining origination or distribution, and gaining market share results in increased franchise value.
However, there is an important caveat in this picture. Analysts and investors are constantly looking for banks that can produce a steady stream of earnings from their franchise. A bank that is simply taking more risk can produce the false appearance of a steady stream of earnings. Eventually, such risks end up producing significant portfolio losses when there is a downturn in the economy. The portfolio losses lead investors to reassess the value of the franchise, often leading to a fall in the bank’s value that is a multiple of the realized portfolio loss.
Real franchise value cannot be produced simply by taking risk. It can only be produced by taking risks that are worth more than they cost the bank to hold or distribute. The path to franchise profitability lies, first, in understanding the market value of loans at the time of origination.