Does the bad bank model of resolving nonperforming loans work in practice?

The development of designated banking institutions to buy and resolve nonperforming loans (NPLs) from banks is called the “bad bank” type of troubled asset resolution. It’s been viewed by policy makers like a viable approach to resolve distressed banking assets (e.g., Geithner, 2009). This type of model has been utilized to solve financial crises because the 1980s in China, France, Germany, The country, Norway, and also the U . s . States. Most lately, in Feb 2021, the Indian government suggested a poor bank structure in the Budget 2021.1

However, regardless of the buy-by various policy makers, systematic study from the efficiency from the bad bank model continues to be scarce because of the insufficient transaction-level data. Inside a recent study, we use China like a setting to evaluate the empirical performance of bad banks in resolving NPLs.

Binding Financial Regulation, Opaque Transactions, and Distorted Incentives

Beginning this year, china government has permitted local asset management companies (AMCs) as designated banking institutions to get NPLs from banks, clearly proclaiming that local AMCs should conduct transactions “in compliance using the principle of market economy.”

China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission enforces regulatory minimums around the loan loss allowances in accordance with NPLs and also the loan loss allowances in accordance with total loans both needs appear binding within the data as banks cluster just above their particular thresholds. Selling NPLs to AMCs enables banks to get rid of NPLs and generates more slack in satisfying the regulatory ratios.

As distressed debt resolution specialists, local AMCs are given the job of presuming the loan perils of the NPLs from banks and resolving NPLs outdoors the banking sector. We evaluate detailed transaction-level data from the leading local AMC and document five revealing details:

The mean and median haircut on NPL transactions within our data are just 5.1% and %, correspondingly, regardless of the average NPL package being over 4.five years delinquent.2 The haircut decreases with delinquency and increases with bank capital.

All NPL transaction contracts have a collection delegation clause whereby the AMC delegates the duty to gather around the NPLs to banks.

Banks finance over 90% from the NPL transactions through direct loans towards the AMC or indirect financing vehicles. Carrying out a regulatory ruling in This summer 2019 that clearly banned direct loans to AMCs to invest in the NPL purchases, direct loans stopped to exist, but 88% of transactions remain financed by banks through indirect financing vehicles.

AMCs re-sell almost three-quarters from the NPLs to 3rd parties who’re within the same metropolitan areas because the banks and therefore are borrowers from the banks. Resale costs are always confined in accordance with purchase prices, no matter loan quality. The more an NPL package stays using the AMC, the greater may be the resale cost.

Public markets don’t react to the NPL transactions.

With each other, these answers are more in line with NPL transactions concealing instead of resolving troubled bank assets. Three parties take part in the concealment process: (1) banks, which wish to remove NPLs using their balance sheets to conform using the quantity-based loan quality regulation (2) AMCs, that are paid for serving as pass-through entities and (3) third-party bank affiliates, what are ultimate proprietors from the NPLs and borrowers from the bank.

A diagram of rectangular(s) and arrows showing Figure 1: Movement of NPLs within the Economic Climate.

Figure 1: Movement of NPLs within the Economic Climate

Because banks still remain uncovered to individuals transacted NPLs along the way above, we call the transferred loans “hidden NPLs.” Even though they are taken off bank balance sheets, banks continue to be responsible for their losses.

Implications for China’s Banking System and Worldwide Financial Regulators

NPLs can weaken bank health insurance and curtail bank credit supply, resulting in systemic financial crises and real economic disruptions. Jiménez et al. (2017) reason that high NPLs hamper bank reaction to countercyclical capital buffers because of binding market constraints. Based on our analysis, recognizing the hidden NPLs signifies that total NPLs in China is 2 to 4 occasions the reported amount (total between US$600 billion and US$1.2 trillion in contrast to the reported US$300 billion).

Overall, these answers are broadly in conjuction with the existing research documenting proper behaviors of banks to lessen regulatory burden. For instance, Acharya, Schnabl, and Suarez (2013) document that before the economic crisis in 2008, banks within the U . s . States securitized assets without transferring risks in a manner that reduced regulatory capital needs. Begley, Purnanandam, and Zheng (2017) practice a sample of huge banks globally and discover that they seem like strategically underreporting risks within their buying and selling books to prevent capital surcharges.

A place chart showing reported NPLs versus hidden NPLs in Figure 2: Magnitude of Hidden NPLs.

Figure 2: Magnitude of Hidden NPLs

Past the Chinese context, our findings have implications for the style of problem loan resolution. In the existence of binding financial rules and opaque market structures, unhealthy bank model with little oversight on NPL transactions can incentivize banks to plot transactions to merely hide their troubled assets without correct resolution. Requiring banks to stick to strict financial rules can hamper the potency of the “bad bank” model to solve NPLs because the rules can generate distorted incentives whereby banks think it is more advantageous to hide loans for the short term instead of resolve them baffled.


Acharya, Viral V, Philipp Schnabl, and Gustavo Suarez. 2013. “Securitization without Risk Transfer.” Journal of monetary Financial aspects 107 (3): 515-36.

Begley, Taylor A., Amiyatosh K. Purnanandam, and Kuncheng Zheng. 2017. “The Proper Underreporting of Bank Risk.” Overview of Financial Studies 30 (10).

Geithner, T. 2009. My Arrange for Bad Bank Assets.

Jiménez, Gabriel, Steven Ongena, José Luis Peydró, and Jesús Saurina. 2017. “Macroprudential Policy, Countercyclical Bank Capital Buffers, and Credit Supply: Evidence in the Spanish Dynamic Provisioning Experiments.” Journal of Political Economy 125 (6): 2126-77.

McMahon, D. 2019. Taobao Bad Loan Auctions: What Online Prices Reveal Concerning the NPL Market. Marco Polo, 1-9.

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