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Credit Risk Analysis and Security Design

35 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2008  

Roman Inderst

Goethe University Frankfurt

Holger M. Müller

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 6 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2002


This paper considers the potential cost of subjective judgment and discretion in credit decisions. We show that subjectivity and discretion in the evaluation of borrowers create an incentive problem on the part of the lender. The lender s incentives to accept or reject a borrower depend only on the value of her own claims, not on the total value of the project. Unless the lender obtains the full NPV her credit decision is too conservative, i.e., she uses too high a hurdle rate. Given this problem we show that the unique optimal security is standard debt. Among all securities debt is the one that makes the lender the least conservative, thus providing her with optimal incentives to trade otype-1 and type-2 errors. Among other things, this suggests that the common folk wisdom whereby giving banks equity makes them less cautious in their credit decisions is generally not correct.

Suggested Citation

Inderst, Roman and Müller, Holger M., Credit Risk Analysis and Security Design (November 2002). NYU Working Paper No. S-CDM-02-13. Available at SSRN:

Roman Inderst (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, Hessen 60629
+49 (69) 798-34601 (Phone)
+49 (69) 798-35000 (Fax)


Holger M. Müller

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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