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Case Study First American Bank: Credit Default Swaps

CapEx Unlimited (CEU), one of Charles Bank Internationals (CBI) important clients, asked for $50 million to finance its network expansion. However, the new loan would put CBI over its credit exposure limit. CBIT contacted First American Bank (FAB) to establish a credit default swap, which would mitigate its credit risk from the new loan.

What is the probability that CEU will default within two years?

In order to accurately price the credit default swap, we need to start with an assessment of credit risk the probability of default. According to Exhibit 10b, the probability that CEU (rating B2) will default by the end of year 2 is 13.7%. But, this data only reflects historical information, which is not appropriate for derivatives pricing. Therefore, we use Merton Model to calculate CEUs default probability.

The Merton Model proposed by Robert Merton characterizes a companys equity as writing a call option or buying a put option on the assets of the company with maturity T and a strike price equal to the face value of the debt. The implied volatility from options can be regarded as the expected probability of default.

Currently, CEUs market value of the firm equals to $10,900 million (S 0 ) and the outstanding debt has a maturity of 5 years (T). CEUs market value of debt is $4,100 million, so its face value of debt should be more than $4,100 million. For treasury STRIP with 5-year maturity (r=4.5% according to Exhibit 8), if its market value is $4,100 million, its face value will be $5109 million. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that CEUs face value of debt is $5,200 million, which equals to option strike price X. If the volatility of equity (sd) is given, then we can easily get the price of option and the probability of default by using the formula below. (See table below an example)

P 0 = X*e -rt * [1-N(d 2 )] S 0 *[1-N(d 1 )]

Where

 

P(D) = N(-d 2 )

 
 

Black Scholes Calculation Example

 

Exercise Price=Debt Face Value

 

X

5200

Time to Expiration of Option

 

T

5

Volatility of Equity

 

sd

30%

5 Year STRIP Yield

 

rf

4.50%

Market Value of Firm

 

So

10900

P0

S0

X

r

T

Sd

d1

d2

N(d1)

N(d2)

116.26

10900

5200

0.045

4

0.3

1.8186

1.2038

0.9655

0.8857

 

P(D)

0.11434

Swap Fee Rate Calculation

Now, assume we have an accumulated default probability of 10.52% within 5 years, which indicates a semiannual default probability of 1.052%. The notional amount equals to new loan $50 million with a recovery rate of 82% (Exhibit 14). The swap fee is paid semiannually coinciding with coupon of the bonds. At the time of the deal, the five-year risk-free rate was 4.5%.

Set swap fee rate as s. As we know, in an efficient market, the cost of loss without swap should equal to fee payments. The calculation below is based on a notational principal of $1.

 

PV

 

Default

Survival

Expected

Expected

Discount

PV

Expected

Year

LGD

Cost at

Fee

Expected

 

Probability

Probability

Factors

Fee

 

Default

Payment

Cost

Payment

0.5

1.05%

98.95%

18.00%

0.1894%

0.9895s

0.9753

0.00185

0.9650s

1

1.05%

97.90%

18.00%

0.1894%

0.9790s

0.9512

0.00180

0.9312s

1.5

1.05%

96.84%

18.00%

0.1894%

0.9684s

0.9277

0.00176

0.8984s

2

1.05%

95.79%

18.00%

0.1894%

0.9579s

0.9048

0.00171

0.8667s

Total

0.00712

3.6310s

Set total PV of expected loss cost equals to PV of expected swap fee. Then, s= =0.00712/3.631 = 0.00196, indicating the annual fee payment on a default swap with a notational principal of $1. Therefore,

Annual Swap Fee = 2*s*$50,000,000 = $196,089

Swap Fee Rate Calculation

The table below shows the cash flows from the swap.

Year

Default

Suvival

LGD

Expected

Expected

Discount

PV(Expect

PV(Expect

Probability

Probability

Cost at

Fee

Factors

ed Cost)

ed Fee

 

Default

Payment

Payment)

0.5

1.05%

98.95%

18.00%

94680

96210

0.9753

92342

93835

1

1.05%

97.90%

18.00%

94680

95187

0.9512

90062

90545

1.5

1.05%

96.84%

18.00%

94680

94165

0.9277

87839

87361

2

1.05%

95.79%

18.00%

94680

93142

0.9048

85670

84278

Total

355914

356019