BANQUE SAUDI FRANSI
NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS For the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 _______________________________________________________________________________________________
The Bank attempts to control credit risk by monitoring credit exposures, limiting transactions with specific counterparties, and by continually assessing the creditworthiness of counterparties. The Bank’s risk management policies are designed to identify and to set appropriate risk limits and to monitor the risks and adherence to limits.
In addition to monitoring credit limits, the Bank manages the credit exposure relating to its trading activities by entering into master netting agreements and collateral arrangements with counterparties in appropriate circumstances, and by limiting the duration of exposure. In certain cases the Bank may also close out transactions or assign them to other counterparties to mitigate credit risk. The Bank’s credit risk for derivatives, represents the potential cost to replace the derivative contracts if counterparties fail to fulfill their obligation, and to control the level of credit risk taken, the Bank assesses counterparties using the same techniques as for its lending activities
Concentrations of credit risk arise when a number of counterparties are engaged in similar business activities, or activities in the same geographic region, or have similar economic features that would cause their ability to meet contractual obligations to be similarly affected by changes in economic, political or other conditions. Concentrations of credit risk indicate the relative sensitivity of the Bank’s performance to developments affecting a particular industry or geographical location.
The Bank seeks to manage its credit risk exposure through diversification of lending activities to ensure that there is no undue concentration of risks with individuals or groups of customers in specific locations or business. It also takes security when appropriate. The Bank also seeks additional collateral from the counterparty as soon as impairment indicators are noticed for the relevant individual loans and advances.
Management monitors the market value of collateral, requests additional collateral in accordance with the underlying agreement and monitors the market value of collateral obtained during its review of the adequacy of the allowance for impairment losses.
The Bank regularly reviews its risk management policies and systems to reflect changes in markets products and emerging best practice.
On an ongoing basis, the Bank continues to improve its organization and resources in order to achieve strict, prudent and exhaustive risk management. The Risk Department is set up in such a way so as to assure independence of the Credit Division from the business lines. Common risk management procedures are adapted to the changes in the Bank’s activities and updated on a regular basis. Business lines submit the credit applications to the Credit Division which in turn acts as Secretary of the Credit Committee. The principle of dual signature by the business line and Credit Division applies for all commitments. Above a certain limit, the files are submitted to the Executive Committee for their approval.
Risk rating is used to classify borrowing customers according to the Bank’s assessment of the intrinsic risk quality of a customer. The Bank uses an automated rating system to assign the rating of customers, which takes into consideration the quantitative financial data as well as qualitative elements assigned by the business lines. The system uses a scale of 14 grades and allows comparison with ratings of international rating agencies. Corporate and commercial customers are assigned specific ratings accordingly.
The loans and advances portfolio is reviewed periodically, with the annual credit application review, which assists to maintain and improve the quality of assets. When a customer defaults on commission payment or repayment of principal, the customer is downgraded to the non performing portfolio. The non performing portfolio is dealt with by the Remedial Department within the Credit Division. Impairment charge for credit losses are allocated and monitored regularly.
The debt securities included in investment portfolio are mainly sovereign risk. For analysis of investments by counterparty and the details of the composition of investments, and loans and advances, refer to note 6 and 7, respectively. Information on credit risk relating to derivative instruments is provided in note 10 and for commitments and contingencies in note 19.