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Forecasting credit card portfolio losses in the Great Recession: a study in model risk

Author

Listed:
  • Jose J. Canals-Cerda
  • Sougata Kerr

Abstract

Credit card portfolios represent a significant component of the balance sheets of the largest US banks. The charge?off rate in this asset class increased drastically during the Great Recession. The recent economic downturn offers a unique opportunity to analyze the performance of credit risk models applied to credit card portfolios under conditions of economic stress. Specifically, we evaluate three potential sources of model risk: model specification, sample selection, and stress scenario selection. Our analysis indicates that model specifications that incorporate interactions between policy variables and core account characteristics generate the most accurate loss projections across risk segments. Models estimated over a time frame that includes a significant economic downturn are able to project levels of credit loss consistent with those experienced during the Great Recession. Models estimated over a time frame that does not include a significant economic downturn can severely under-predict credit loss in some cases, and the level of forecast error can be significantly impacted by model specification assumptions. Higher credit-score segments of the portfolio are proportionally more severely impacted by downturn economic conditions and model specification assumptions. The selection of the stress scenario can have a dramatic impact on projected loss.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose J. Canals-Cerda & Sougata Kerr, 2014. "Forecasting credit card portfolio losses in the Great Recession: a study in model risk," Working Papers 14-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 31 Mar 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:14-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sueyoshi, Glenn T, 1995. "A Class of Binary Response Models for Grouped Duration Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 411-431, Oct.-Dec..
    2. David B. Gross, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 319-347, March.
    3. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit cards; Stress test; Credit risk; Regulatory capital;

    JEL classification:

    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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