The Group first assesses whether objective evidence of impairment exists individually for loans that are individually significant. It then assesses collectively for loans that are not individually significant and loans which are significant but for which there is no objective evidence of impairment under the individual assessment.
To allow management to determine whether a loss event has occurred on an individual basis, all significant counterparty relationships are reviewed periodically. This evaluation considers current information and events related to the counterparty, such as the counterparty experiencing significant financial difficulty or a breach of contract, for example, default or delinquency in interest or principal payments.
If there is evidence of impairment leading to an impairment loss for an individual counterparty relationship, then the amount of the loss is determined as the difference between the carrying amount of the loan(s), including accrued interest, and the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate or the effective interest rate established upon reclassification to loans, including cash flows that may result from foreclosure less costs for obtaining and selling the collateral. The carrying amount of the loans is reduced by the use of an allowance account and the amount of the loss is recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income as a component of the provision for credit losses.
The collective assessment of impairment is to establish an allowance amount relating to loans that are either individually significant but for which there is no objective evidence of impairment, or are not individually significant but for which there is, on a portfolio basis, a loss amount that is probable of having occurred and is reasonably estimable. The loss amount has three components. The first component is an amount for transfer and currency convertibility risks for loan exposures in countries where there are serious doubts about the ability of counterparties to comply with the repayment terms due to the economic or political situation prevailing in the respective country of domicile. This amount is calculated using ratings for country risk and transfer risk which are established and regularly reviewed for each country in which the Group does business. The second component is an allowance amount representing the incurred losses on the portfolio of smaller-balance homogeneous loans, which are loans to individuals and small business customers of the private and retail business. The loans are grouped according to similar credit risk characteristics and the allowance for each group is determined using statistical models based on historical experience. The third component represents an estimate of incurred losses inherent in the group of loans that have not yet been individually identified or measured as part of the smaller-balance homogeneous loans. Loans that were found not to be impaired when evaluated on an individual basis are included in the scope of this component of the allowance.
Once a loan is identified as impaired, although the accrual of interest in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan is discontinued, the accretion of the net present value of the written down amount of the loan due to the passage of time is recognized as interest income based on the original effective interest rate of the loan.
At each balance sheet date, all impaired loans are reviewed for changes to the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate. Any change to the previously recognized impairment loss is recognized as a change to the allowance account and recorded in the Consolidated Statement of Income as a component of the provision for credit losses.
When it is considered that there is no realistic prospect of recovery and all collateral has been realized or transferred to the Group, the loan and any associated allowance is charged off (the loan and the related allowance are removed from the balance sheet). Individually significant loans where specific loan loss provisions are in place are evaluated at least quarterly on a case-by-case basis. For this category of loans, the number of days past due is an indicator for a charge-off but is not a determining factor. A charge-off will only take place after considering all relevant information, such as the occurrence of a significant change in the borrower’s financial position such that the borrower can no longer pay the obligation, or the proceeds from the collateral are insufficient to completely satisfy the current carrying amount of the loan.
For collectively assessed loans, which are primarily mortgages and consumer finance loans, the timing of a charge-off depends on whether there is any underlying collateral and the Group’s estimate of the amount collectible. For mortgage loans, the portion of the loan which is uncollateralized is charged off when the mortgage becomes 840 days past due, at the latest. For consumer finance loans, any portion of the balance which the Bank does not expect to collect is written off at 180 days past due for credit card receivables, and 270 days past due for other consumer finance loans.
Subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the allowance account and are recorded in the Consolidated Statement of Income as a component of the provision for credit losses.
The process to determine the provision for off-balance sheet positions is similar to the methodology used for loans. Any loss amounts are recognized as an allowance in the Consolidated Balance Sheet within provisions and charged to the Consolidated Statement of Income as a component of the provision for credit losses.
If in a subsequent period the amount of a previously recognized impairment loss decreases and the decrease is due to an event occurring after the impairment was recognized, the impairment loss is reversed by reducing the allowance account accordingly. Such reversal is recognized in profit or loss.
Critical Accounting Estimates: The accounting estimates and judgments related to the impairment of loans and provision for off-balance sheet positions is a critical accounting estimate because the underlying assumptions used for both the individually and collectively assessed impairment can change from period to period and may significantly affect the Group’s results of operations.
In assessing assets for impairments, management judgment is required, particularly in circumstances of economic and financial uncertainty, such as those of the recent financial crisis, when developments and changes to expected cash flows can occur both with greater rapidity and less predictability. The actual amount of the future cash flows and their timing may differ from the estimates used by management and consequently may cause actual losses to differ from reported allowances.
For those loans which are deemed to be individually significant, the determination of the impairment allowance often requires the use of considerable judgment concerning such matters as local economic conditions, the financial performance of the counterparty and the value of any collateral held, for which there may not be a readily accessible market.
The determination of the allowance for portfolios of loans of smaller balance homogenous loans and for those loans which are individually significant but for which no objective evidence of impairment exists is calculated using statistical models. Such statistical models incorporate numerous estimates and judgments. The Group performs a regular review of the models and underlying data and assumptions. The probability of defaults, loss recovery rates and judgments concerning ability of borrowers in foreign countries to transfer the foreign currency necessary to comply with debt repayments, amongst other things, are incorporated into this review.