Converting the NPL Ratio into a Comparable Long Term Metric
The NPL ratio is probably the most widely used metric to measure the credit risk present in the loan portfolio of financial institutions. However, factors other than credit risk, such as the time a loan remains in the NPL condition, the distribution of defaults over time within a certain vintage, the growth rate of the loan portfolio and its term to maturity, may influence its dynamics. Moreover, accounting differences related to recognition and definition of an event of default makes it difficult to compare this metric across different countries. In this paper, we propose an alternative metric to assess the dynamics of credit risk in the loan portfolio. Based on a theoretical portfolio, we develop an analytical model in order to estimate the weighted average of lifetime default ratios of all vintages where the weight is assigned based on the contribution of each vintage to the current stock of loans. We call it implied NPL ratio, which consists of a transformation that adjusts the observed NPL ratio for the effects of changes in the portfolio growth rate and in its average term to maturity, and also takes into account differences in the default distribution across time and the amount of time a past due loan remains in the balance sheet. The results of applying this transformation to the three most relevant types of loans to households in Brazil (auto loans, housing financing and payroll-deducted loans) demonstrate that (a) the implied NPL ratio was a good forecast of the portfolio lifetime default; (b) changes in the components mentioned above affected the dynamics of the NPL ratio and therefore compromised the assessment of credit risk based on this metric (c) the analysis of differences in the evolution of NPL and INPL gives rise to important insights regarding the dynamics of credit risk.
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