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The Role of Industry, Geography and Firm Heterogeneity in Credit Risk Diversification

  • M. Hashem Pesaran
  • Til Schuermann
  • Björn-Jakob Treutler

In theory the potential for credit risk diversifcation for banks could be substantial. Portfolios are large enough that idiosyncratic risk is diversifed away leaving exposure to systematic risk. The potential for portfolio diversifcation is driven broadly by two characteristics: the degree to which systematic risk factors are correlated with each other and the degree of dependence individual firms have to the different types of risk factors. We propose a model for exploring these dimensions of credit risk diversifcation: across industry sectors and across di¤erent countries or regions. We find that full firm-level parameter heterogeneity matters a great deal for capturing differences in simulated credit loss distributions. Imposing homogeneity results in overly skewed and fat-tailed loss distributions. These differences become more pronounced in the presence of systematic risk factor shocks: increased parameter heterogeneity greatly reduces shock sensitivity. Allowing for regional parameter heterogeneity seems to better approximate the loss distributions generated by the fully heterogeneous model than allowing just for industry heterogeneity. The regional model also exhibits less shock sensitivity.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR) in its series IEPR Working Papers with number 05.25.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:05-25
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  1. Anil Bangia & Francis X. Diebold & Til Schuermann, 2000. "Ratings Migration and the Business Cycle, With Application to Credit Portfolio Stress Testing," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-26, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Edward I. Altman, 1968. "Financial Ratios, Discriminant Analysis And The Prediction Of Corporate Bankruptcy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 23(4), pages 589-609, 09.
  3. Jeffery D. Amato & Eli M Remolona, 2005. "The pricing of unexpected credit losses," BIS Working Papers 190, Bank for International Settlements.
  4. Amato, Jeffery D. & Furfine, Craig H., 2004. "Are credit ratings procyclical?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2641-2677, November.
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