Friday, January 20, 2017

KHCB: Credit Metrics Part 3: Collateral Coverage

Post Foreclosure Sales Prices May Be Less than Appraisal Values

We ended the last post on KHCB’s credit metrics with some theological speculation.

Since AA’s province is finance and not theology, let’s look at collateral coverage.  Maybe KHCB is so collateral “rich” that classifying some loans past due 180 days as unimpaired makes perfect (credit) sense.

As outlined above, KHCB’s collateral position is not sufficiently “robust” to compensate for other weaknesses in its lending portfolio discussed in earlier posts.
  1. Collateral is concentrated in real estate. That poses at least two problems. Illiquid assets like real estate are difficult to sell quickly and/or at full price, exposing lenders to loss.  Real estate is interest-sensitive. With real estate 85% of collateral, KHCB is particularly vulnerable to increases in interest rates. 
  2. Compounding this problem, KHCB’s real estate collateral is primarily located in a single, very small market—Bahrain—, magnifying the inherent risks of taking illiquid assets as collateral. 
  3. KHCB also seems to be relying on real estate to collateralize non-real estate loans thus increasing the bank’s overall exposure to real estate.  This appears to contradict GFH’s stated goal of reducing “land-based” exposure.   
Now to the detail.  

Key areas for investigation: 
  1. Percent of portfolio collateralized and trends in collateralization.
  2. Types of collateral.  
General introductory notes:
  1. Note 34 page 72 (IFRS) and Note 4.10 page 93 (Basel Pillar III) are the sources for this post.
  2. I have relied primarily on the Pillar III note as the IFRS note really doesn’t provide the same level of detail.
  3. However, both have an apparently erroneous and misleading statement regarding collateral coverage of the portfolio.  This error appears only as a number in the Pillar III Note 4.10.  Note 34 spells out the error:  The average collateral coverage ratio on secured facilities is 107.80% at 31 December 2015 (31 December 2014: 109.49%).”  
  4. As Pillar III Note 4.10 shows this ratio was determined by taking the value of all collateral and dividing it by outstanding exposure. 
  5. Two problems with that.
  6. First and foremost, Pillar III Note 4.10 shows that BHD 106.5 million is unsecured.  The key point here is that if a loan is unsecured, then by definition it has no collateral.  Consequently, unsecured loans should be excluded from measures of collateral coverage.  That of course would apparently make the ratio higher at 148%.  Note that the data for “Other” and “Unsecured” is switched in both the Arabic and English versions of the 2015 AR as evidenced by data in prior years’ annual reports.   
  7. Second, unless this collateral is pledged to all secured facilities the 148% coverage ratio is meaningless.
  8. As a concrete example, suppose you take a $1mm loan from Bank Arqala (“BA”), assuming you can pass our stringent credit process, and pledge The Trump Tower in NYC.   Our fine bank has collateral worth let’s say a $1 billion, if not multiples more.  But TTTNYC only secures your loan.  If BA makes loans totaling $999 million to other borrowers, the average collateral on the portfolio is not 100%.  One loan for $1 million is over collateralized.  It’s also important to remember that BA like any other bank can only collect what you owe on your loan when it sells (realizes) the collateral you pledged.   If you owe $1.1 million in P&I, BA can take and sell the Trump Tower but only keep $1.1 million not the untold billions TTTNYC is really worth.  The bank must return the rest of the proceeds from the collateral realization to you.  
Collateralization Levels

Total Gross Exposure

Partially Secured

% TGE –All Unsecured

Comments on collateralization levels: 
  1. As is clear, KHCB has been expanding its unsecured portfolio.  It was at 18.5% in 2011 and 26.1% in 2015.  However, percentages don't convey the full extent of the change.  Unsecured loans have gone from BHD 40.3 million to BHD 106.5 million.  Why is that important?  Because over the period capital has not increased by 2.5x.
  2. In general, but not always, uncollateralized lending is riskier than collateralized.  Tenor (maturity) of the loans would also affect risk.  That info is not available. 
  3. Note the partially secured amounts are net after deducting the partial collateral shown in Pillar III Note 4.10 for “cash” and “other” collateral at face value (no haircut by AA).   
Types of Collateral: 
  1. Pillar III Note 4.10 discloses that 85% of KHCB’s collateral is real estate. 
  2. Three observations.
  3. First, real estate is illiquid and may be hard to sell, unless one is holding a security interest in a piece of land in central Tokyo.  There’s probably not comparable land in Bahrain.  Additionally, it’s well known that with the right nautical partners one can create perfectly good land in Bahrain from the sea as GFH and Arcapita might testify.  Cash or marketable securities would be much more liquid and provide much more protection.  That’s why KHCB advances on average only 60 fils against each dinar of real estate collateral.
  4. Second, real estate is interest sensitive.  As market rates rise so do cap rates (the interest rates used to determine the value of the property). As a consequence, property values decline.  That could be a problem as the US raises interest rates and currency pegged-Bahrain follows along.  The main consequence is likely to be eroding collateral values. Borrowers are shielded from rising rates by the fixed rates on their existing loans--absent covenants in the loan agreements that allow the bank to raise borrower’s interest rates.  Thus, borrowers’ ability to repay should not be affected directly, though general interest rate could indirectly stress their ability to repay by reducing overall economic activity in the Kingdom.   Potential buyers of “seized” collateral are likely to require financing.  If rates on new loans are higher than currently, the sale of real estate will be more difficult, perhaps requiring KHCB to make loan term concessions or reduce the price of seized property being sold.  That leads nicely into the next point. 
  5. Third, when looking at an institution’s exposure to real estate risk, one needs to look at more than the purpose of the loan or the business of the borrower. If a bank makes a loan for a new airline, but secures it with real estate, it has an indirect exposure to real estate along with the direct exposure to the airline.  If the loan is being made because the real estate collateral “compensates” for shortcomings in the airline’s creditworthiness, then the exposure to real estate is more “direct”.
  6. Some 55% of KHCB’s exposure (based on outstanding exposure not collateral values) is secured by real estate, which tempers KHCB’s management’s statement at the bottom of the chart in Pillar III Note 4.3.6 page 88: “The Board approved internal cap for real estate exposure at 40% of total assets. The Bank’s real estate exposure as of 31 December 2015 and 2014 are within the policy limit.”   Not exactly.  Assuming collateral is taken because it is needed to support extension of credit, then KHCB’s real estate exposure is larger than 40%. 
All in all a poor fit for GFH’s announced strategy.

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