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A credit risk is risk of default on a debt that may arise from a borrower failing to make required payments.[1] In the first resort, the risk is that of the lender and includes lost principal and interest, disruption to cash flows, and increased collection costs. The loss may be complete or partial. In an efficient market, higher levels of credit risk will be associated with higher borrowing costs. Because of this, measures of borrowing costs such as yield spreads can be used to infer credit risk levels based on assessments by market participants.

Losses can arise in a number of circumstances,[2] for example:

To reduce the lender's credit risk, the lender may perform a credit check on the prospective borrower, may require the borrower to take out appropriate insurance, such as mortgage insurance, or seek security over some assets of the borrower or a guarantee from a third party. The lender can also take out insurance against the risk or on-sell the debt to another company. In general, the higher the risk, the higher will be the interest rate that the debtor will be asked to pay on the debt. Credit risk mainly arises when borrowers are unable to pay due willingly or unwillingly.

Significant resources and sophisticated programs are used to analyze and manage risk.[4][5] Some companies run a credit risk department whose job is to assess the financial health of their customers, and extend credit (or not) accordingly. They may use in-house programs to advise on avoiding, reducing and transferring risk. They

Significant resources and sophisticated programs are used to analyze and manage risk.[4][5] Some companies run a credit risk department whose job is to assess the financial health of their customers, and extend credit (or not) accordingly. They may use in-house programs to advise on avoiding, reducing and transferring risk. They also use the third party provided intelligence. Companies like Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch Ratings, DBRS, Dun and Bradstreet, Bureau van Dijk and Rapid Ratings International provide such information for a fee.

For large companies with liquidly traded corporate bonds or Credit Default Swaps, bond yield spreads and credit default swap spreads indicate market participants assessments of credit risk and may be used as a reference point to price loans or trigger collateral calls.

Most lenders employ their models (credit scorecards) to rank potential and existing customers according to risk, and then apply appropriate strategies.[6] With products such as unsecured personal loans or mortgages, lenders charge a higher price for higher-risk customers and vice versa.[7][8] With revolving products such as credit cards and overdrafts, the risk is controlled through the setting of credit limits. Some products also require collateral, usually an asset that is pledged to secure the repayment of the loan.[9]

Credit scoring models also form part of the framework used by banks or lending institutions to grant credit to clients.[10] For corporate and commercial borrowers, these models generally have qualitative and quantitative sections outlining various aspects of

For large companies with liquidly traded corporate bonds or Credit Default Swaps, bond yield spreads and credit default swap spreads indicate market participants assessments of credit risk and may be used as a reference point to price loans or trigger collateral calls.

Most lenders employ their models (credit scorecards) to rank potential and existing customers according to risk, and then apply appropriate strategies.[6] With products such as unsecured personal loans or mortgages, lenders charge a higher price for higher-risk customers and vice versa.[7][8] With revolving products such as credit cards and overdrafts, the risk is controlled through the setting of credit limits. Some products also require collateral, usually an asset that is pledged to secure the repayment of the loan.[9]

Credit scoring models also form part of the framework used by banks or lending institutions to grant credit to clients.[10] For corporate and commercial borrowers, these models generally have qualitative and quantitative sections outlining various aspects of the risk including, but not limited to, operating experience, management expertise, asset quality, and leverage and liquidity ratios, respectively. Once this information has been fully reviewed by credit officers and credit committees, the lender provides the funds subject to the terms and conditions presented within the contract (as outlined above).[11][12]

Sovereign credit risk is the risk of a government being unwilling or unable to meet its loan obligations, or reneging on loans it guarantees. Many countries have faced sovereign risk in the late-2000s global recession. The existence of such risk means that creditors should take a two-stage decision process when deciding to lend to a firm based in a foreign country. Firstly one should consider the sovereign risk quality of the country and then consider the firm's credit quality.[13]

Five macroeconomic variables that affect the probability of sovereign debt rescheduling are:[14]