Risk Management

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“Risk Management in Banks: The AHP way”

By: Diksha Arora
PG Candidate, Class of PGDM-2010


Risk is inherent in every walk of life. Banks are, by definition, in the business of taking and managing risk. The paper deals with the study of Risks associated with commercial banks like risk revolving on capital, credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, earnings risk, business strategy risk, environmental risk, operational risk, group risk, internal control risk, organizational risk, management risk and compliance risk. In the global scenario, the degree to which the models have been incorporated into the Risk Management and economic capital allocation process varies greatly between banks. Through this paper an attempt was made to construct an optimal model using Analytical Hierarchy Programming to find the risk rating of a bank. This model will bring uniformity and help in assessing performance of a bank vis-a-vis another which also forms a part of RBI supervision.


The etymology of the word "Risk" can be traced to the Latin word "Rescum" meaning Risk at Sea or that which cuts. Risk is inherent in every walk of life. Banks are, by definition, in the business of taking and managing risk. With growing competition and fast changes in the operating environment impacting the business potentials, banks are compelled to encounter various kinds of financial and non-financial risks. Risk is associated with uncertainty and reflected by way of charge on the fundamental/ basic i.e. in the case of business it is the Capital, which is the cushion that protects the liability holders of an institution.

The various risks that a bank is bound to confront is divided into two categories namely business risks and control risks. Business risk involves the risks arising out of the operations of the bank, the business it is into and the way it conducts its operations. It consists of 8 types of risks namely capital, credit, market, earnings, liquidity, business strategy and environmental, operational and group risk. Control risk measures the risk arising out of any lapses in the control mechanism such as the organizational structure and the management and the internal controls that exist in the bank. Controls risk further consists of internal controls, management, organizational and compliance risk. These risks are highly interdependent and events that affect one area of risk can have ramifications for a range of other risk categories. Thus, top management of banks should attach considerable importance to improve the ability to identify measure, monitor and control the overall level of risks undertaken.

The three main categories of risks which have a mention in the capital accord are: Credit Risk, Market Risk and Operational Risk. Credit risk, a major source of loss, is the risk that customers fail to comply with their obligations to service debt. Major credit risk components are exposure, likelihood of default, or of a deterioration of credit standing, and the recoveries under default. Modelling default probability directly with credit risk models remains a major challenge, not addressed until recent years. Market Risk may be defined as the possibility of loss to bank caused by the changes in the market variables. Market risk management provides a comprehensive and dynamic frame work for measuring, monitoring and managing liquidity, interest rate, foreign exchange and equity as well as commodity price risk of a bank that needs to be closely integrated with the bank's business strategy. Operational risk involves breakdown in internal controls, personnel and corporate governance leading to error, fraud, and performance failure, compromise on the interest of the bank resulting in financial loss. Putting in place proper corporate governance practices by itself would serve as an effective risk management tool. The practical difficulties lie in agreeing on a common classification of events and on the...
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