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Obscure Banking Question

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by FLMountainMan, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    Kind of obscure, but reading a person's resume today prompted this -

    Why don't banks outsource their underwriting departments? Many credit unions do, but it's rare to see banks do it (at least to my limited knowledge). Doesn't the involvement of a third-party reduce their accountability for underwriting bad loans? Or does the SEC or some federal regulation prohibit this?
     
  2. MetroStyles

    MetroStyles Well-Known Member

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    Kind of obscure, but reading a person's resume today prompted this -

    Why don't banks outsource their underwriting departments? Many credit unions do, but it's rare to see banks do it (at least to my limited knowledge). Doesn't the involvement of a third-party reduce their accountability for underwriting bad loans? Or does the SEC or some federal regulation prohibit this?


    Because the last thing a bank wants is shitty loans on their books. And if they are securitizing, being known for bad loans isn't exactly a reputation-maker.
     
  3. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Well-Known Member

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    Because the last thing a bank wants is shitty loans on their books. And if they are securitizing, being known for bad loans isn't exactly a reputation-maker.

    The correct answer is: just because.
     
  4. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    Because the last thing a bank wants is shitty loans on their books. And if they are securitizing, being known for bad loans isn't exactly a reputation-maker.

    Just to be the Devil's Advocate (because I think it's a bad idea) - couldn't the bank give guidelines for the level of risk they thought was acceptable? Then they would have some indemnification against the underwriting company and would presumably save money by outsourcing that department (huge if, I know). And why the disparity in how it's done amongst credit unions vs. banks? Is it as simple as credit unions are small-time and banks are big-time? Or is there some banking regulation I'm unaware of?
     
  5. dragon8

    dragon8 Well-Known Member

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    I figured that underwriters get a commission for every loan that goes through. If a 3rd party did it they would just approve as many loans as they could just for the payday.

    If the bank's employees did it their bosses would say "WTF are you stupid or something "how could this person who makes $35k afford a $500k loan?" At least in theory anyway.
     
  6. MetroStyles

    MetroStyles Well-Known Member

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    Just to be the Devil's Advocate (because I think it's a bad idea) - couldn't the bank give guidelines for the level of risk they thought was acceptable? Then they would have some indemnification against the underwriting company and would presumably save money by outsourcing that department (huge if, I know). And why the disparity in how it's done amongst credit unions vs. banks? Is it as simple as credit unions are small-time and banks are big-time? Or is there some banking regulation I'm unaware of?

    I don't see what the rationale is for a bank to underwrite bad loans. High default rates destroy a bank's operations and can sink the entire enterprise (I've seen it happen at my own clients). It has less to do with "getting away with it" and more to do with not wanting shitty loans on your books. There was a lesson learned in the last few years, which is that it is still important to know your customer and that ramping up origination volume beyond your means will eventually bite you in the ass.

    I figured that underwriters get a commission for every loan that goes through. If a 3rd party did it they would just approve as many loans as they could just for the payday.

    If the bank's employees did it their bosses would say "WTF are you stupid or something "how could this person who makes $35k afford a $500k loan?" At least in theory anyway.


    Welcome to the mortgage crisis.
     
  7. Mark from Plano

    Mark from Plano Well-Known Member

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    Just to be the Devil's Advocate (because I think it's a bad idea) - couldn't the bank give guidelines for the level of risk they thought was acceptable? Then they would have some indemnification against the underwriting company and would presumably save money by outsourcing that department (huge if, I know). And why the disparity in how it's done amongst credit unions vs. banks? Is it as simple as credit unions are small-time and banks are big-time? Or is there some banking regulation I'm unaware of?

    Well, this is a really broad reaching question. Bank lending covers such a large scope and underwriting them is highly diversified. For example:

    Consumer lending:
    --Mortgages
    --Credit Cards
    --Other personal lending
    Business/Enterprise lending:
    --Commercial Real Estate
    --Government and Institutions
    --Specialized Industries (O&G reserve lending, auto dealership floorplan and consumer, etc.)
    --Capital Markets debt lending (both investment grade and high-yield)
    --Middle Market cash flow
    --Asset based lending

    I'm sure there are more. Each of these areas is a completely different underwriting model and big banks that are involved in some or all of these have highly specialized underwriting groups and line credit officers that focus pretty much on a single area and become specialized in that.

    To my knowledge, the only area where the underwriting got outsourced was consumer mortgage lending and I'm no expert in that area, but I believe that it had to do with the fact that the government guaranteed a lot of those loans, so the underwriting standards were, at least ostensibly, pretty cut and dry. We see how well that worked out.

    In other areas of underwriting this isn't the case. I do underwriting for large commercial loans and it's more akin to making a custom suit than to buying off the rack. We have a structuring group that tries to do some upfront analysis and puts out a term-sheet to outline the transaction, but often in the course of the due diligence, we find issues that require us (or permit us) to make changes to the transaction. While it is theoretically possible that an outside service could manage this process, only someone within the bank's operational and/or credit chain is going to be able to make the final decision on the risk/reward offsets of a particular transaction.

    All that said, there are parts of our due diligence that we do outsource. My specific experience is with middle market lending with deal sizes between, say $25MM and $2B or so. We used to have internal appraisers. That department got downsized and we were left with one guy who managed hiring appraisers and reviewed their reports. Now he's gone and my group hires the appraiser and reviews their reports. We have an internal field examination group that does detailed collateral due diligence on both new transactions and monitoring of portfolio transactions. In order to manage headcount in that group we often outsource that function, but we maintain group managers that supervise and review their work and are responsible for the final product. So there are some aspects of the underwriting, that we do outsource. However, these are only service functions to the ultimate underwriting.

    I think that generally, underwriting and managing of risk is something that most banks consider a core competency that they want to maintain in house.
     
  8. JoelF

    JoelF Well-Known Member

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    Kind of obscure, but reading a person's resume today prompted this -

    Why don't banks outsource their underwriting departments? Many credit unions do, but it's rare to see banks do it (at least to my limited knowledge). Doesn't the involvement of a third-party reduce their accountability for underwriting bad loans? Or does the SEC or some federal regulation prohibit this?


    They do, it's called loan syndication. I guess every bank that take a piece of a syndicated deal can do their own diligence etc. but all the structuring pricing etc. gets done by the arranger(s).
     
  9. Mark from Plano

    Mark from Plano Well-Known Member

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    They do, it's called loan syndication. I guess every bank that take a piece of a syndicated deal can do their own diligence etc. but all the structuring pricing etc. gets done by the arranger(s).

    True, but every syndicated deal I've ever worked on was at least reviewed by an in-house underwriter at each participant bank who prepared an approval memo for his credit authorities the same way he would if they were leading the deal. Also, the participants sometimes have input on structuring issues. Well...in my experience, they always give input. Whether or not the agent accepts their input is another matter. But, if the agent gets too far out of market it won't get syndicated.

    At least this is true in my little corner of the world.
     
  10. office drone

    office drone Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how it is in other parts, but where I work, we take owership of the deals we write and approve. Knowing the client, their reputation, the industry, and the market is all local knowledge that should be known to the guy directly handling the loan before a penny goes out the door.
     
  11. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    Really got some great answers in this thread. Sorry for the necrobump and I know one of the guys is banned, but it was just a good example of what makes this forum great.
     
  12. CunningSmeagol

    CunningSmeagol Well-Known Member

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  13. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    He was timed out for personally attacking one of the most valued members here. He came back and made a (light) personal attack against the same member. Banhammer ensued.
     

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