Dynamic Default Rates

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Robert Lamb and William Perraudin

This paper develops new, dynamic and conditional versions of Vasicek’s widely used single factor, default rate distribution. We employ our new class of distributions in modelling US bank loan losses. We analyze the implications for risk, capital, diversification and cyclical effects in loan portfolios and investigate how observed macroeconomic factors such as shocks to industrial production and unemployment affect the distribution of credit losses. A strength of our approach is the simplicity with which one may incorporate rich patterns of auto-correlation and dependence on observable factors into default rate distributions.