Year of publication
- 2000 (3) (remove)
- Information production in credit relationships : on the role of internal ratings in commercial banking (2000)
- This paper discusses the role of internal corporate ratings as a means by which commercial banks condense their informational advantage and preserve it vis-à-vis a competitive lending market. In drawing on a unique data set collected from leading universal banks in Germany, we are able to evaluate the extent to which non-public information determines corporate ratings. As a point of departure, the paper describes a sample of rating systems currently in use, and points at methodological differences between them. Relying on a probit analysis, we are able to show that the set of qualitative, or soft, factors is not simply redundant with respect to publicly available accounting data. Rather, qualitative information tends to be decisive in at least one third of cases. It tends to improve the firms' overall corporate rating. In the case of conflicting rating changes, i.e. when qualitative and quantitative rating changes have opposing signs, quantitative criteria dominate the overall rating change. Furthermore, the more restrictive the weighting scheme as part of the rating methodology is, the stronger is the impact of qualitative information on the firms' overall rating. The implications of our results underline the need to define stringent rating standards, from both a risk management and a regulatory point of view. Revised edition published in: ZEW Wirtschaftsanalysen 2001, Bd 54, Baden-Baden, Nomos
- Generally accepted rating principles: a primer (2000)
- Bank internal ratings of corporate clients are intended to quantify the expected likelihood of future borrower defaults. This paper develops a comprehensive framework for evaluating the quality of standard rating systems. We suggest a number of principles that ought to be met by 'good rating practice'. These 'generally accepted rating principles' are potentially relevant for the improvement of existing rating systems. They are also relevant for the development of certification standards for internal rating systems, as currently discussed in a consultative paper issued by the Bank for International Settlement in Basle, entitled 'A new capital adequacy framework'. We would very much appreciate any comments by readers that help to develop these rating standards further. Simply send us an E-mail, or give us a call.
- Collateral, default risk, and relationship lending : an empirical study on financial contracting (2000)
- This paper provides further insights into the nature of relationship lending by analyzing the link between relationship lending, borrower quality and collateral as a key variable in loan contract design. We used a unique data set based on the examination of credit files of five leading German banks, thus relying on information actually used in the process of bank credit decision-making and contract design. In particular, bank internal borrower ratings serve to evaluate borrower quality, and the bank's own assessment of its housebank status serves to identify information-intensive relationships. Additionally, we used data on workout activities for borrowers facing financial distress. We found no significant correlation between ex ante borrower quality and the incidence or degree of collateralization. Our results indicate that the use of collateral in loan contract design is mainly driven by aspects of relationship lending and renegotiations. We found that relationship lenders or housebanks do require more collateral from their debtors, thereby increasing the borrower's lock-in and strengthening the banks' bargaining power in future renegotiation situations. This result is strongly supported by our analysis of the correlation between ex post risk, collateral and relationship lending since housebanks do more frequently engage in workout activities for distressed borrowers, and collateralization increases workout probability. First version: March 12, 1999