CAMELS RATING SYSTEM - CAMELS rating system for assessing...

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CAMELS rating system for assessing bank performance: What are CAMELS ratings? During an on-site bank exam, supervisors gather private information, such as details on problem loans, with which to evaluate a bank's financial condition and to monitor its compliance with laws and regulatory policies. A key product of such an exam is a supervisory rating of the bank's overall condition, commonly referred to as a CAMELS rating. This rating system is used by the three federal banking supervisors (the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the OCC) and other financial supervisory agencies to provide a convenient summary of bank conditions at the time of an exam. The acronym "CAMEL" refers to the five components of a bank's condition that are assessed: C apital adequacy, A sset quality, M anagement, E arnings, and L iquidity. A sixth component, a bank's S ensitivity to market risk, was added in 1997; hence the acronym was changed to CAMELS. (Note that the bulk of the academic literature is based on pre-1997 data and is thus based on CAMEL ratings.) Ratings are assigned for each component in addition to the overall rating of a bank's financial condition. The ratings are assigned on a scale from 1 to 5. Banks with ratings of 1 or 2 are considered to present few, if any, supervisory concerns, while banks with ratings of 3, 4, or 5 present moderate to extreme degrees of supervisory concern. All exam materials are highly confidential, including the CAMELS. A bank's CAMELS rating is directly known only by the bank's senior management and the appropriate supervisory staff. CAMELS ratings are never released by supervisory
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agencies, even on a lagged basis. While exam results are confidential, the public may infer such supervisory information on bank conditions based on subsequent bank actions or specific disclosures. Overall, the private supervisory information gathered during a bank exam is not disclosed to the public by supervisors, although studies show that it does filter into the financial markets. CAMELS ratings in the supervisory monitoring of banks Several academic studies have examined whether and to what extent private supervisory information is useful in the supervisory monitoring of banks. With respect to predicting bank failure, Barker and Holdsworth (1993) find evidence that CAMEL ratings are useful, even after controlling for a wide range of publicly available information about the condition and performance of banks. Cole and Gunther (1998) examine a similar question and find that although CAMEL ratings contain useful information, it decays quickly. For the period between 1988 and 1992, they find that a statistical model using publicly available financial data is a better indicator of bank failure than CAMEL ratings that are more than two quarters old. Hirtle and Lopez (1999) examine the usefulness of past CAMEL
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CAMELS RATING SYSTEM - CAMELS rating system for assessing...

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