4.1.2.2 Risk Grading

All Banks should adopt a credit risk grading system. The system should define the risk profile of borrower’s to ensure that account management, structure and pricing are commensurate with the risk involved. Risk grading is a key measurement of a Bank’s asset quality, and as such, it is essential that grading is a robust process. All facilities should be assigned a risk grade. Where deterioration in risk is noted, the Risk Grade assigned to a borrower and its facilities should be immediately changed. Borrower Risk Grades should be clearly stated on Credit Applications. The following Risk Grade Matrix is provided as an example.
The more conservative risk grade (higher) should be applied if there is a difference between the personal judgement and the Risk Grade Scorecard results. It is recognized that the banks may have more or less Risk Grades, however, monitoring standards and account management must be appropriate given the assigned Risk Grade:

Risk Rating Grade Definition

Superior – Low Risk (Grade 1) Facilities are fully secured by cash deposits, government bonds or a counter guarantee from a top tier international bank. All security documentation should be in place.
Good – Satisfactory Risk (Grade2) The repayment capacity of the borrower is strong. The borrower should have excellent liquidity and low leverage. The company should demonstrate consistently strong earnings and cash flow and have an unblemished track record. All security documentation should be in place. Aggregate Score of 95 or greater based on the Risk Grade Scorecard.

Acceptable – Fair Risk (Grade3) Adequate financial condition though may not be able to sustain any major or continued setbacks. These borrowers are not as strong as Grade 2 borrowers, but should still demonstrate consistent earnings, cash flow and have a good track record. A borrower should not be graded better than 3 if realistic audited financial statements are not received. These assets would normally be secured by acceptable collateral (1st charge over stocks / debtors / equipment / property). Borrowers should have adequate liquidity, cash flow and earnings. An Aggregate Score of 75-94 based on the Risk Grade Scorecard.

Marginal - Watch list (Grade 4) Grade 4 assets warrant greater attention due to conditions affecting the borrower, the industry or the economic environment. These borrowers have an above average risk due to strained liquidity, higher than normal leverage, thin cash flow and/or inconsistent earnings. Facilities should be downgraded to 4 if the borrower incurs a loss, loan payments routinely fall past due, account conduct is poor, or other untoward factors are present. An Aggregate Score of 65-74 based on the Risk Grade Scorecard.

Special Mention (Grade 5) Grade 5 assets have potential weaknesses that deserve management’s close attention. If left uncorrected, these weaknesses may result in a deterioration of the repayment prospects of the borrower. Facilities should be downgraded to 5 if sustained deterioration in financial condition is noted (consecutive losses, negative net worth, excessive leverage), if loan payments remain past due for 30-60 days, or if a significant petition or claim is lodged against the borrower. Full repayment of facilities is still expected and interest can still be taken into profits. An Aggregate Score of 55-64 based on the Risk Grade Scorecard.

Substandard (Grade 6) financial condition is weak and capacity or inclination to repay is in doubt. These weaknesses jeopardize the full settlement of loans. Loans should be downgraded to 6 if loan payments remain past due for 60-90 days, if the customer intends to create a lender group for debt restructuring purposes, the operation has ceased trading or any indication suggesting the winding up or closure of the borrower is discovered. Not yet considered non-performing as the correction of the deficiencies may result in an improved condition, and interest can still be taken into profits. An Aggregate Score of 45-54 based on the Risk Grade Scorecard.

Doubtful and Bad (non-performing) Grade 7 full repayment of principal and interest is unlikely and the possibility of loss is extremely high. However, due to specifically identifiable pending factors, such as litigation, liquidation procedures or capital injection, the asset is not yet classified as Loss. Assets should be downgraded to 7 if loan payments remain past due in excess of 90 days, and interest income should be taken into suspense (non-accrual). Loan loss provisions must be raised against the estimated unrealizable amount of all facilities. The adequacy of provisions must be reviewed at least quarterly on all non-performing loans, and the bank should pursue legal options to enforce security to obtain repayment or negotiate an appropriate loan rescheduling. In all cases, the requirements of Bangladesh Bank in CIB reporting, loan rescheduling and provisioning must be followed. An Aggregate Score of 35-44 based on the Risk Grade Scorecard

Loss (non-performing) Grade 8  Assets graded 8 are long outstanding with no progress in obtaining repayment (in excess of 180 days past due) or in the late stages of wind up/liquidation. The prospect of recovery is poor and legal options have been pursued. The proceeds expected from the liquidation or realization of security may be awaited. The continuance of the loan as a bankable asset is not warranted, and the anticipated loss should have been provided for. This classification reflects that it is not practical or desirable to defer writing off this basically worthless asset even though partial recovery may be effected in the future. Bangladesh Bank guidelines for timely write off of bad loans must be adhered to. An Aggregate Score of 35 or less based on the Risk Grade Scorecard

At least top twenty-five clients/obligors of the Bank may preferably be rated by an outside credit rating agency.

The Early Alert Process should be completed in a timely manner by the RM and forwarded to CRM for approval to affect any downgrade. After approval, the report should be forwarded to Credit Administration, who is responsible to ensure the correct facility/borrower Risk Grades are updated on the system. The downgrading of an account should be done immediately when adverse information is noted, and should not be postponed until the annual review process.