Over the last few years, the financial industry have questioned how much interest rates will rise and to what degree institutions are prepared. Compounding this uncertainty, community banks and credit unions have tried to cope with additional pressure to ensure sustainable profitability by tightening margins and cutting back costs. In response to these pressures, institution leaders have added to their balance sheet assets with longer maturities and more options. These products serve to diversify the balance sheet and widen margins, but in doing so may increase interest rate risk (IRR).
When it comes to Interest Rate Risk (IRR) management, one thing is certain: Interest rates may rise of fall, altering how financial institutions approach the process. While some expect rising rates, and others expect a plateau, financial institutions should have a framework in place that can stand firm in any condition.
Despite predictions and announcements to the contrary, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) might not raise interest rates at all this year.
That’s according to Richard Sheehan, Ph.D. and Senior Vice President, Analytics at MountainView Financial Solutions, a Situs company. He points to past years when the Fed consistently over-predicted the number of rate hikes it would carry out.
Changes in driver rate relationships are key influences determining the Interest Rate Risk (IRR) position of most institutions. Today, it is commonplace for financial institutions to incorporate testing for basis risk and yield curve shape risk in their IRR analyses. Three elements are needed for a successful basis risk and yield curve risk analysis solution: Asset Liability Management (ALM) model setup and fine tuning; defining the appropriate rate tests; and effectively communicating the institution’s Net Interest Income (NII) IRR position
The 6 Tenets of Effective Model Risk Management
As financial institutions progress in the new economic cycle — a cycle defined by gradual interest rate increases, regulatory uncertainty and economic growth — it may be time to revisit the financial models and model processes used to facilitate interest rate risk (IRR) analyses and other risk analyses such as capital stress testing. The accuracy and effectiveness of a model is critical because its outputs may alter the accuracy and effectiveness of related models and impact strategic decisions.