We have been writing on the various strategies available to community banks when structuring commercial loans in this current challenging business and credit environment. With the flat and low yield curve, we have discussed how banks may offer commercial loans through the ARC hedge program using two different strategies: 1) embedded floors, and 2) forward starting floaters.
Banker To Banker
Go to any Trader Joe's market and then go to a competing market, and you will be likely to find a significant difference. Trader Joe's has produced a COVID-19 response that is thoughtful, practical, relatively inexpensive, and caring.
The impact of coronavirus on community banks will be widespread, and, with some borrowers, the restructuring efforts may take a long time and will sap substantial bank resources. Even as bankers are exerting time and effort to help some borrowers stay in business and continue to service their bank debt, other borrowers are looking for new funding, and existing customers, who are creditworthy, are being solicited by competitors. The question for community bankers is how to retain existing strong customers and appropriate ways to structure new debt given the current challenges.
The economic implications of coronavirus are expected to be widespread and are already causing some borrowers to be concerned about their ability to make loan payments. Many of our bank customers have used the ARC program to fix rates for borrowers while retaining a variable rate. Some of these borrowers in profoundly affected sectors, such as restaurants, hotels, and theaters, are now approaching the lending banks to discuss loan payment relief.
The Fed did more than cut rates on Sunday; they pumped a massive amount of liquidity in the system, sending a signal to banks to level up. Far behind the health of employees and customers in the COVID-19 pandemic, comes the economic impact. Unlike the recession of 2008, where the economic impact came over many months, this pandemic impacted businesses in weeks providing much less time to prepare and adjust. The result is likely to be bad for the economy and bad for banks. If your bank is treating this as businesses as usual, then you are putting your survival at risk.
There is now little doubt that the coronavirus will spread globally and will cause more supply and demand shocks in the market. While economic activity will slow, the amount and duration of the slowdown are big unknowns. Community banks may not have exposure to Chinese markets and may not have significant exposure to the energy sector.
When we talk about unforeseen Black Swan events, the COVID-19 virus fits the profile. It has come out of nowhere, taken lives, disrupted public health, altered our daily lives, causing financial market volatility, caused more than five standard deviations of movement in interest rates and likely to have a material impact on credit markets. This isn’t business as usual and for this uncharted territory, you might find this playbook helpful.
Here is the funny thing about the tongue-brain connection - your brain can project, with a very high degree of certainty, what it will feel like if you lick any given object such as your desk, your shirt, car hood, a stucco wall, computer keyboard - you name it. This is despite the fact that you are likely to have zero experience in licking any of those objects in the past. The wiring in your brain is designed to project forward that tongue-licking feeling based on other sensory input, and it does it with amazing accuracy.
There has been substantial research on how prepayment speeds of residential mortgages affect the profitability of individual loans and portfolios. Because of the homogenous nature of residential mortgages, many firms have developed highly predictive models to calculate prepayment speeds based on past behavior, portfolio makeup, and macroeconomic variables. However, very little research is available on prepayment speeds of commercial mortgages – this is understandable because of the uniqueness of each commercial loan. Even sophisticated loan risk-adjusted return on capital (RAROC) models