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Definition of Credit Risk

Credit Risk Image 1

Credit Risk

Financial and moral risk that an obligation will not be paid and a loss will result.


Credit risk

The risk that an issuer of debt securities or a borrower may default on his obligations, or that the
payment may not be made on a negotiable instrument. Related: Default risk



Related Terms:

Current coupon

A bond selling at or close to par, that is, a bond with a coupon close to the yields currently
offered on new bonds of a similar maturity and credit risk.


Default risk

Also referred to as credit risk (as gauged by commercial rating companies), the risk that an
issuer of a bond may be unable to make timely principal and interest payments.


Bankruptcy risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Also referred to as default or insolvency risk.


Basis risk

The uncertainty about the basis at the time a hedge may be lifted. Hedging substitutes basis risk for
price risk.



Best-interests-of-creditors test

The requirement that a claim holder voting against a plan of reorganization
must receive at least as much as he would have if the debtor were liquidated.


Business risk

The risk that the cash flow of an issuer will be impaired because of adverse economic
conditions, making it difficult for the issuer to meet its operating expenses.


Credit Risk Image 2

Call risk

The combination of cash flow uncertainty and reinvestment risk introduced by a call provision.


Commercial risk

The risk that a foreign debtor will be unable to pay its debts because of business events,
such as bankruptcy.


Company-specific risk

Related: Unsystematic risk


Comparative credit analysis

A method of analysis in which a firm is compared to others that have a desired
target debt rating in order to infer an appropriate financial ratio target.


Completion risk

The risk that a project will not be brought into operation successfully.


Consumer credit

credit granted by a firm to consumers for the purchase of goods or services. Also called
retail credit.


Counterparty risk

The risk that the other party to an agreement will default. In an options contract, the risk
to the option buyer that the option writer will not buy or sell the underlying as agreed.
Country economic risk Developments in a national economy that can affect the outcome of an international
financial transaction.


Country financial risk

The ability of the national economy to generate enough foreign exchange to meet
payments of interest and principal on its foreign debt.


Country risk General

Level of political and economic uncertainty in a country affecting the value of loans or
investments in that country.


Credit Risk Image 3

Credit

Money loaned.


Credit analysis

The process of analyzing information on companies and bond issues in order to estimate the
ability of the issuer to live up to its future contractual obligations. Related: default risk



Credit enhancement

Purchase of the financial guarantee of a large insurance company to raise funds.


Credit period

The length of time for which the customer is granted credit.


Credit scoring

A statistical technique wherein several financial characteristics are combined to form a single
score to represent a customer's creditworthiness.


Credit spread

Related:Quality spread


Crediting rate

The interest rate offered on an investment type insurance policy.


Creditor

Lender of money.


Cross-border risk

Refers to the volatility of returns on international investments caused by events associated
with a particular country as opposed to events associated solely with a particular economic or financial agent.


Currency risk

Related: Exchange rate risk


Currency risk sharing

An agreement by the parties to a transaction to share the currency risk associated with
the transaction. The arrangement involves a customized hedge contract embedded in the underlying
transaction.


Credit Risk Image 4

Demand line of credit

A bank line of credit that enables a customer to borrow on a daily or on-demand basis.



Diversifiable risk

Related: unsystematic risk.


Economic risk

In project financing, the risk that the project's output will not be salable at a price that will
cover the project's operating and maintenance costs and its debt service requirements.


Equilibrium market price of risk

The slope of the capital market line (CML). Since the CML represents the
return offered to compensate for a perceived level of risk, each point on the line is a balanced market
condition, or equilibrium. The slope of the line determines the additional return needed to compensate for a
unit change in risk.


Eurocredits

Intermediate-term loans of Eurocurrencies made by banking syndicates to corporate and
government borrowers.


Event risk

The risk that the ability of an issuer to make interest and principal payments will change because
of rare, discontinuous, and very large, unanticipated changes in the market environment such as (1) a natural
or industrial accident or some regulatory change or (2) a takeover or corporate restructuring.


Evergreen credit

Revolving credit without maturity.


Exchange rate risk

Also called currency risk, the risk of an investment's value changing because of currency
exchange rates.


Exchange risk

The variability of a firm's value that results from unexpected exchange rate changes or the
extent to which the present value of a firm is expected to change as a result of a given currency's appreciation
or depreciation.


Fallout risk

A type of mortgage pipeline risk that is generally created when the terms of the loan to be
originated are set at the same time as the sale terms are set. The risk is that either of the two parties, borrower
or investor, fails to close and the loan "falls out" of the pipeline.


Federal credit agencies

Agencies of the federal government set up to supply credit to various classes of
institutions and individuals, e.g. S&Ls, small business firms, students, farmers, and exporters.


Financial risk

The risk that the cash flow of an issuer will not be adequate to meet its financial obligations.
Also referred to as the additional risk that a firm's stockholder bears when the firm utilizes debt and equity.


Firm-specific risk

See:diversifiable risk or unsystematic risk.


Five Cs of credit

Five characteristics that are used to form a judgement about a customer's creditworthiness:
character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions.


Flat price risk

Taking a position either long or short that does not involve spreading.


Force majeure risk

The risk that there will be an interruption of operations for a prolonged period after a
project finance project has been completed due to fire, flood, storm, or some other factor beyond the control
of the project's sponsors.


Foreign exchange risk

The risk that a long or short position in a foreign currency might have to be closed out
at a loss due to an adverse movement in the currency rates.


Foreign tax credit

Home country credit against domestic income tax for foreign taxes paid on foreign
derived earnings.


Full faith-and-credit obligations

The security pledges for larger municipal bond issuers, such as states and
large cities which have diverse funding sources.


Funding risk

Related: interest rate risk


Geographic risk

risk that arises when an issuer has policies concentrated within certain geographic areas,
such as the risk of damage from a hurricane or an earthquake.


Herstatt risk

The risk of loss in foreign exchange trading that one party will deliver foreign exchange but the counterparty financial institution will fail to deliver its end of the contract. It is also referred to as settlement risk.


Idiosyncratic Risk

Unsystematic risk or risk that is uncorrelated to the overall market risk. In other words,
the risk that is firm specific and can be diversified through holding a portfolio of stocks.


Inflation risk

Also called purchasing-power risk, the risk that changes in the real return the investor will
realize after adjusting for inflation will be negative.


Insolvency risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to satisfy its debts. Also known as bankruptcy risk.


Interest rate risk

The risk that a security's value changes due to a change in interest rates. For example, a
bond's price drops as interest rates rise. For a depository institution, also called funding risk, the risk that
spread income will suffer because of a change in interest rates.


Investment tax credit

Proportion of new capital investment that can be used to reduce a company's tax bill
(abolished in 1986).


Letter of credit (L/C)

A form of guarantee of payment issued by a bank used to guarantee the payment of
interest and repayment of principal on bond issues.


Line of credit

An informal arrangement between a bank and a customer establishing a maximum loan
balance that the bank will permit the borrower to maintain.


Liquidity risk

The risk that arises from the difficulty of selling an asset. It can be thought of as the difference
between the "true value" of the asset and the likely price, less commissions.


Line of credit

An informal arrangement between a bank and a customer establishing a maximum loan
balance that the bank will permit the borrower to maintain.


Market price of risk

A measure of the extra return, or risk premium, that investors demand to bear risk. The
reward-to-risk ratio of the market portfolio.


Market risk

risk that cannot be diversified away. Related: systematic risk


Mortgage-pipeline risk

The risk associated with taking applications from prospective mortgage borrowers
who may opt to decline to accept a quoted mortgage rate within a certain grace period.


Nondiversifiable risk

risk that cannot be eliminated by diversification.


Nonsystematic risk

Nonmarket or firm-specific risk factors that can be eliminated by diversification. Also
called unique risk or diversifiable risk. Systematic risk refers to risk factors common to the entire economy.


Operating risk

The inherent or fundamental risk of a firm, without regard to financial risk. The risk that is
created by operating leverage. Also called business risk.


Overnight delivery risk

A risk brought about because differences in time zones between settlement centers
require that payment or delivery on one side of a transaction be made without knowing until the next day
whether the funds have been received in an account on the other side. Particularly apparent where delivery
takes place in Europe for payment in dollars in New York.


Political risk

Possibility of the expropriation of assets, changes in tax policy, restrictions on the exchange of
foreign currency, or other changes in the business climate of a country.


Price risk

The risk that the value of a security (or a portfolio) will decline in the future. Or, a type of
mortgage-pipeline risk created in the production segment when loan terms are set for the borrower in advance
of terms being set for secondary market sale. If the general level of rates rises during the production cycle, the
lender may have to sell his originated loans at a discount.


Product risk

A type of mortgage-pipeline risk that occurs when a lender has an unusual loan in production or
inventory but does not have a sale commitment at a prearranged price.


Purchasing-power risk

Related: inflation risk


Rate risk

In banking, the risk that profits may decline or losses occur because a rise in interest rates forces up
the cost of funding fixed-rate loans or other fixed-rate assets.


Regulatory pricing risk

risk that arises when regulators restrict the premium rates that insurance companies
can charge.


Reinvestment risk

The risk that proceeds received in the future will have to be reinvested at a lower potential
interest rate.


Residual risk

Related: unsystematic risk


Retail credit

credit granted by a firm to consumers for the purchase of goods or services.
See: consumer credit.


Reverse price risk

A type of mortgage-pipeline risk that occurs when a lender commits to sell loans to an
investor at rates prevailing at application but sets the note rates when the borrowers close. The lender is thus
exposed to the risk of falling rates.


Revolving credit agreement

A legal commitment wherein a bank promises to lend a customer up to a
specified maximum amount during a specified period.


Revolving line of credit

A bank line of credit on which the customer pays a commitment fee and can take
down and repay funds according to his needs. Normally the line involves a firm commitment from the bank
for a period of several years.


Risk

Typically defined as the standard deviation of the return on total investment. Degree of uncertainty of
return on an asset.


Risk-adjusted profitability

A probability used to determine a "sure" expected value (sometimes called a
certainty equivalent) that would be equivalent to the actual risky expected value.


Risk arbitrage

Speculation on perceived mispriced securities, usually in connection with merger and
acquisition deals. Mike Donatelli, John Demasi, Frank Cohane, and Scott Lewis are all hardcore arbs. They
had a huge BT/MCI position in the summer of 1997, and came out smelling like roses.


Risk averse

A risk-averse investor is one who, when faced with two investments with the same expected
return but two different risks, prefers the one with the lower risk.


Risk classes

Groups of projects that have approximately the same amount of risk.


Risk controlled arbitrage

A self-funding, self-hedged series of transactions that generally utilize mortgage
securities as the primary assets.


Risk indexes

Categories of risk used to calculate fundamental beta, including (1) market variability, (2)
earnings variability, (3) low valuation, (4) immaturity and smallness, (5) growth orientation, and (6) financial risk.


Risk lover

A person willing to accept lower expected returns on prospects with higher amounts of risk.


Risk management

The process of identifying and evaluating risks and selecting and managing techniques to
adapt to risk exposures.


Risk neutral

Insensitive to risk.


Risk prone

Willing to pay money to transfer risk from others.


Risk premium

The reward for holding the risky market portfolio rather than the risk-free asset. The spread
between Treasury and non-Treasury bonds of comparable maturity.


Risk premium approach

The most common approach for tactical asset allocation to determine the relative
valuation of asset classes based on expected returns.


Riskless rate

The rate earned on a riskless investment, typically the rate earned on the 90-day U.S. Treasury Bill.


Riskless rate of return

The rate earned on a riskless asset.


Riskless arbitrage

The simultaneous purchase and sale of the same asset to yield a profit.


Riskless or risk-free asset

An asset whose future return is known today with certainty. The risk free asset is
commonly defined as short-term obligations of the U.S. government.


Risky asset

An asset whose future return is uncertain.


Risk-adjusted

return Return earned on an asset normalized for the amount of risk associated with that asset.


Risk-free asset

An asset whose future return is known today with certainty.


Risk-free rate

The rate earned on a riskless asset.


Shortfall risk

The risk of falling short of any investment target.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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