8 Risks Faced by Modern Banks at the Present Competitive Business World

The unanticipated part of the return, that portion resulting from surprises is the true risk of any investment. If we always receive what we expect, than the investment is perfectly predictable and, by definition, risk-free. In other words, the risk of owning an asset comes from surprises-unanticipated events. RISK is a concept that denotes the precise probability of specific eventualities. It is simply the future uncertainty and not only the incidents of predictable outcomes but also the unpredictable favorable outcomes. All the firms or companies whether it is in real or providing service are facing some sort of risk at present competitive business world to run its business. Banks are one of them in these regard and it is facing possibility of risk in terms of money and their achieved reputation. Bank is a financial institution that primarily deals with borrowing and lending money from the people by the people to the people. Besides this core activities now-a-days banks are also dealing with other roles related to economy. A wide range of financial services are offering by modern banks as a result the level and intensity of risk exposure have been expanded as well. So all the policymakers and the managers are now believe that risk management is essential, where they have been identified few core areas to be managed effectively and efficiently are as follows, credit risk, interest-rate risk, exchange-rate risk, environmental risk, money laundering risk, liquidity or funding risk, leverage or capital risk, strategic risk, which needed to discuss broadly.

Risks Faced by Modern Banks

Financial risk refers to the risk that a bank will not have ample cash flow to meet the financial obligations. Financial risks are taken in managing the balance sheet and off-balance activities. Financial risk covers, among others, credit risk which is thought the most dominant financial risk today. This is the risk of erosion of value due to simple default or non-payment by the borrowers. Credit risk is also known as counter-party risk since its come from the failure of counter party to meet its obligation as per contract or agreed terms and conditions. An interest-rate risk refers to the potential negative effect on the net cash flows and value of assets and liabilities resulting from interest-rate changes. In extreme conditions, interest rate fluctuations can create a liquidity crisis. The subject of interest rate risk also belongs to the Asset-Liability Management and is much broader than liquidity. The fluctuation in the prices of financial assets due to changes in interest rates can be large enough to make default risk which is the major threat to banks’ viability. Exchange-rate risk, or currency risk, is the risk of declines in cash flows and asset values of a bank due to change in exchange rate. The banks with overseas operations of those active in foreign exchange markets faces exchange rate risk. All the risk and how it can be reduced would be discussed thoroughly on the main body of the report.

All the risk that modern banks may face at the present competitive business world viewed by experts have briefly discussed as follows:

1. Credit Risk Management

Financial risk arises as a risk when a bank doesn’t have enough money to meet its financial obligations, are taken in managing the balance sheet and off-balance activities. This risk includes, among others, credit risk which is the most dominant financial risk today that decomposition of value due to simple default or non-payment by the borrowers. Credit risk is also known as counter-party risk since its come from the failure of counter party to meet his/her obligation as per contract or agreed terms and conditions that also can be defined as the possible failure by the bank borrowers or counter-party within the agreed time period. According to BIS, “Credit Risk is most simply defined as the potential that a bank borrower or counterparty will fail to meet its obligations in accordance with agreed terms.” To maximize the rate of return this risk should be managed properly. Banks need to manage credit risk in the entire range as well as the risk in individual credits or transactions. The effective management of credit risk is a critical component of a comprehensive approach to risk management and essential to the long-term success of any banking organization.

2. Interest-rate Risk Management

Interest rate risk is the potential impact that faces by banks on its earnings and net asset values of changes in interest rates. When bank’s principal amount and its cash flows differ in both on-and-off balance sheet items then interest-rate risk arises. Managing interest rate risk is a fundamental element in the safe and sound management of all banks. Although the facts of interest rate risk management differ among banks depend upon the nature and complexity of its asset and liability structure. A wide-ranging interest rate risk management programme requires getting interest-rate risk positions and risking profiles.

  • To establish and implement sound and prudent interest rate risk policies;
  • To develop and implement appropriate interest rate risk measurement techniques; and
  • To develop and implement effective interest rate risk management and control procedures.

Managing interest rate requires a clear understanding of the sum at risk and the impact of changes in interest rates on this risk position. To make these determinations, adequate information should be available to consent appropriate action to be taken within acceptable, often very short, short periods. The longer it takes an institution to eliminate or reverse an unwanted exposure, the greater the possibility of loss. Interest-rate risk refers to the potential negative effect on the net cash flows and value of assets and liabilities resulting from interest-rate changes. In extreme conditions, interest rate fluctuations can create a liquidity crisis. The subject of interest rate risk also belongs to the Asset-Liability Management and is much broader than liquidity. The fluctuation in the prices of financial assets due to changes in interest rates can be large enough to make default risk which is the major threat to banks’ viability.

3. Exchange-rate risk Management

Exchange-rate risk or currency risk is the risk of declines in cash flows and asset values of a bank due to change in exchange rate. The banks with overseas operations of those active in foreign exchange markets faces exchange rate risk. The net long position and short position of foreign currency balances under trading book may be assessed to know the extent the risk as well as capital requirements for this purpose. However, the Value-at-Risk (VaR), one of the most sophisticated approaches that depend on inferential statistical parameters, may be used to determine the extent of risk in this area.

4. Environmental Risk Management

Environmental Risk is the risk that the bank must guard against but over which it has at best limited control. The bank must take it that as a firm, like any other, it is open to risk resulting from changes in the external environment in which it operates. It includes Defalcation risk—the risk of theft or fraud by bank officers or employees as well as by the customers must be carefully guarded against in order to avoid substantial losses. Code of conduct, moral value creation, punitive measures etc., may help reducing such risk.

5. Money Laundering Risk Management

The loss of reputation and expenses incurred as penalty for being negligent in prevention of money laundering. Sound Know Your Client (KYC) procedure, Cash transaction report (CTR), suspicious transaction report (STR), clear understanding of the business of the client, person’s identity will reduce the loss of reputation and expenses incurred as penalty from such types of risk. With money laundering on the rise around the world, regulatory response is also increasing. Recent enforcement actions have focused on an institution’s lack of consistent internal controls, governance and oversight. In response, financial institutions are in search of reasonable anti-money laundering measures they can take to ensure regulatory compliance, including implementing a monitoring system that:

  • Migrates all risks identified in their risk assessment.
  • Can be implemented in months rather than years.
  • Has lower infrastructure and support costs.
  • Is proven to pass regulatory muster.

6. Liquidity or Funding Risk Management

Funding liquidity risk is the possibility that over a specific horizon, a bank will unable to meet the demand for money, as other risks, funding liquidity risk is forward looking and measured over a specific horizon. It is a zero-one concept, i.e. a bank can either settle obligations, or it cannot. Funding liquidity risk, on the other hand, can take on infinitely many values reflecting the magnitude of risk. Moreover, funding liquidity is a point-in-time concept, while funding liquidity is forward looking. As long as the bank is not in an absorbing state, both liquidity and illiquidity are possible. The likelihood of either depends on the time horizon considered and on the nature of the funding position of the bank. In this respect, concerns about the future ability to settle obligations or to raise cash at short notice, i.e. future funding liquidity, will impact on current funding liquidity risk.

7. Leverage or Capital Risk Management

Leverage or capital risk is the potential inability of a bank to protect its depositors and creditors from declines in asset value and therefore, default. Banks need to maintain adequate capital because it is caution against unexpected losses; it ensures that a bank remains solvent and stays in business even under extreme conditions; it has directly linked with investment/credit operations and it aims at absorbing unexpected losses at certain confidence level. Banks are following the best international practice given by the Basel Committee on banking supervision for maintaining adequate capital to commensurate to exposure or risk on balance sheet from 1996.

8. Strategic Risk Management

Strategic risk is the risk of the bank choosing inappropriate geographic and product areas that will be profitable for the bank in a complex future environment. In other words, strategic risk may occur when a bank is not prepared or able to complete in a newly developing line of business.