Credit Risk

We measure and manage our credit risk using the following philosophy and principles:

  • Our credit risk management function is independent from our business divisions and in each of our divisions credit decision standards, processes and principles are consistently applied.
  • A key principle of credit risk management is client credit due diligence. Our client selection is achieved in collaboration with our business division counterparts who stand as a first line of defence.
  • We aim to prevent undue concentration and tail-risks (large unexpected losses) by maintaining a diversified credit portfolio. Client-, industry-, country- and product-specific concentrations are assessed and managed against our risk appetite.
  • We maintain underwriting standards aiming to avoid large directional credit risk on a counterparty and portfolio level. In this regard we assume unsecured cash positions and actively use hedging for risk mitigation purposes. Additionally, we strive to secure our derivative portfolio through collateral agreements and may additionally hedge concentration risks to further mitigate credit risks from underlying market movements.
  • Every new credit facility and every extension or material change of an existing credit facility (such as its tenor, collateral structure or major covenants) to any counterparty requires credit approval at the appropriate authority level. We assign credit approval authorities to individuals according to their qualifications, experience and training, and we review these periodically.
  • We measure and consolidate all our credit exposures to each obligor across our consolidated Group on a global basis that applies, in line with regulatory requirements.
  • We manage credit exposures on the basis of the “one obligor principle”, under which all facilities to a group of borrowers which are linked to each other (i.e., by one entity holding a majority of the voting rights or capital of another) are consolidated under one group.
  • We have established within Credit Risk Management – where appropriate – specialized teams for deriving internal client ratings, analyzing and approving transactions, monitoring the portfolio or covering workout clients. The credit coverage for assets transferred to the NCOU utilizes the expertise of our core credit organization.
  • Our credit related activities are governed by our Principles for Managing Credit Risk. These principles define our general risk philosophy for credit risk and our methods to manage this risk. The principles define key organizational requirements, roles and responsibilities as well as process principles for credit risk management and are applicable to all credit related activities undertaken by us.

Credit Risk Ratings

The credit rating is an essential part of the Bank’s underwriting and credit process and builds the basis for risk appetite determination as well as credit decision and transaction pricing. Each borrower must be rated and each rating has to be reviewed at least annually. Ongoing monitoring of counterparties foster that ratings are kept up-to-date. There must be no credit limit without a credit rating. For each credit rating the appropriate rating approach has to be applied and the derived credit rating has to be established in the relevant systems. Different rating approaches have been established to best reflect the specific characteristics of exposure classes, including central governments and central banks, institutions, corporates and retail.

Counterparties in our non-homogenous portfolios are rated by our independent Credit Risk Management function. Country risk related ratings are provided by dbResearch.

Our rating analysis is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative factors. When rating a counterparty we apply in-house assessment methodologies, scorecards and our 21-grade rating scale for evaluating the credit-worthiness of our counterparties. The previous 26-grid rating scale has been replaced by a 21-grade rating scale, merging seven default classes into two. These two include either provisioned exposure or non provisioned exposure (e.g. due to collateral). This change in methodology has not resulted in any impact in RWA, EL and EC.

The majority of our rating methodologies are authorized for use within the advanced internal rating based approach under applicable Basel rules. Our rating scale enables us to compare our internal ratings with common market practice and promotes comparability between different sub-portfolios of our institution. We generally rate our counterparties individually, though certain portfolios of purchased or securitized receivables are rated on a pool basis. Ratings are required to be kept well documented. The algorithms of the rating procedures for all counterparties are recalibrated regularly on the basis of the default history as well as other external and internal factors and expert judgments.

Ratings for central governments and central banks take into account economic, political and socio-demographic indicators, e.g. the political dynamics in a country. The model incorporates relevant aspects covered in the fields of empirical country risk analysis and early warning crisis models to arrive at an overall risk evaluation.

Ratings for corporates, institutions and SMEs combine quantitative analysis of financial information with qualitative assessments of i.a. industry trends, market position and management experience. Financial analysis has a specific focus on cash flow generation and the counterparty’s capability to service its debts, also in comparison to peers. We supplement the analysis of financials by an internal forecast of the counterparty’s financial profile where deemed to be necessary. For purchased corporate receivables the corporate rating approach is applied.

Ratings for SME clients are based on automated sub-ratings for e.g. financial aspects and conduct of bank account. Specialized lending is managed by specific credit risk management teams, e.g. for real estate, ship finance or leveraged transactions. Following the individual characteristic of the underlying credit transactions we have developed bespoke scorecards where appropriate to derive credit ratings.

In our retail business, creditworthiness checks and counterparty ratings are generally derived by utilizing an automated decision engine. The decision engine incorporates quantitative aspects (i.e., financial figures), behavioural aspects, credit bureau information (such as SCHUFA in Germany) and general customer data. These input factors are used by the decision engine to determine the creditworthiness of the borrower and, after consideration of collateral, the expected loss. The established rating procedures we have implemented in our retail business are based on multivariate statistical methods.

They are used to support our individual credit decisions for the retail portfolio as well as to continuously monitor it in an automated fashion. In case elevated risks are identified as part to this monitoring process or new regulatory requirements apply, credit ratings are reviewed on an individual basis for these affected counterparties.

Credit risk arising from equity position is managed by a separate team within Credit Risk Management. We usually use either external rating where available or standard rating approaches as default to measure the expected loss of equity positions.

Postbank also makes use of internal rating systems authorized for use within the foundation or advanced internal rating based approach according to CRR. All internal ratings and scorings are based on a uniform master scale, which assigns each rating or scoring result to the default probability determined for that class. Risk governance is provided within a Legal Entity committee structure as well as on group level by full integration and representation of Postbank in DB Group's global risk committees.

Rating Governance

All of our rating methodologies, excluding Postbank, have to be approved by the Capital Methodology Committee (“CMC”), a sub-committee of the Regulatory Capital Committee, before the methodologies are used for credit decisions and capital calculation for the first time or before they are significantly changed. Regulatory approval may be required in addition. The results of the regular validation processes as stipulated by internal policies have to be brought to the attention of the CMC, even if the validation results do not lead to a change. The validation plan for rating methodologies is presented to CMC at the beginning of the calendar year and a status update is given on a quarterly basis.

For Postbank, responsibility for implementation and monitoring of internal rating systems effectiveness rests with Postbank’s Risk Analytics unit and Postbank’s validation committee, chaired by Postbank’s Head of Credit Risk Controlling. All rating systems are subject to approval by Postbank’s Bank Risk Committee chaired by the Chief Risk Officer. Effectiveness of rating systems and rating results are reported to the Postbank Management Board on a regular basis. Joint governance is ensured via a cross committee membership of Deutsche Bank senior managers joining Postbank committees and vice versa.

Credit Risk Measures

The key credit risk measures we apply for managing our credit portfolio, including transaction approval and the setting of risk appetite, are internal limits and credit exposures under these limits. Credit limits set forth maximum credit exposures we are willing to assume over specified periods. In determining the credit limit for a counterparty, we consider the counterparty’s credit quality by reference to our internal credit rating. Credit limits and credit exposures are both measured on a gross and net basis where net is derived by deducting hedges and certain collateral from respective gross figures. For derivatives, we look at current market values and the potential future exposure over the lifetime of a transaction. We generally also take into consideration the risk-return characteristics of individual transactions and portfolios.

Credit Approval and Authority

Credit limits are established by the Credit Risk Management function via the execution of assigned credit authorities. Credit approvals are documented by the signing of the credit report by the respective credit authority holders and retained for future reference.

Credit authority is generally assigned to individuals as personal credit authority according to the individual’s professional qualification and experience. All assigned credit authorities are reviewed on a periodic basis to help ensure that they are adequate to the individual performance of the authority holder.

Where an individual’s personal authority is insufficient to establish required credit limits, the transaction is referred to a higher credit authority holder or where necessary to an appropriate credit committee such as the Underwriting Committee. Where personal and committee authorities are insufficient to establish appropriate limits, the case is referred to the Management Board for approval.