Thursday, February 21, 2008

RMA/AFS Risk Analysis Service Metrics Show Accelerated Deterioration in Middle Market Credit Quality

The Risk Management Association (RMA), in alliance with Automated Financial Systems, Inc. (AFS), this week released its commercial credit risk benchmarking data updated through fourth quarter 2007. The fourth quarter results reflect portfolio data for middle market exposure provided by 16 top tier participating institutions, estimated to represent over one-half of all middle market commercial loans in the U.S.

The non-accrual percentage of middle market loans began to rise over one year ago and now represent 0.68% of total loan outstanding balances. This figure represents a 21% increase over the prior quarter and a 79% increase from year-end 2006. From an industry perspective, the construction sector continues to lead the deterioration with 1.99% of these loans now being reported as non-accruing, up 66% and 315% over prior quarter and year-ago periods, respectively. From a delinquency perspective, the construction sector was also the weakest performing industry. Loans past due 30 to 89 days now represent 1.36% of the outstandings for the sector, up 68% from the year ago period and double the national average ratio of 0.64%. These trends also suggest non-accrual levels will continue to rise in upcoming quarters.

"The deterioration found in the Risk Analysis Service portfolio metrics confirms the challenges that financial institutions will face over the upcoming quarters. Institutions that are able to stay abreast of the changing credit quality of the middle market will be able to make better informed decisions," said Kevin Blakely, RMA president and CEO.

These findings come from the RMA/AFS Risk Analysis Service, a global credit risk data collection service that enables participating banks to compare their respective risk profiles in defined portfolio segments to industry peers and the industry as a whole. The Service allows participants to gain real-time insights into changing credit quality, portfolio concentrations, and answers the critical question of "How do we compare?" in these turbulent times.

Institutions participating in the Service now have access to an expanded set of risk rating metrics. In addition to borrower risk ratings, institutions are now able to segment their portfolios by measures of default probability, loss given default, and expected loss, risk parameters mandated by the international Basel II rules.

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